Usher Institute

Usher Institute Annual Lecture 2022

Keynote Lecture


Why the climate crisis is a health crisis…and what we can do about it


The world is heating up, and scientists estimate that, unless we can rapidly reduce carbon emissions, we are only 10-15 years from tipping into catastrophic climate change. Our health is already being directly damaged by air pollution from burning fossil fuels, and global heating is threatening our health and lives due to damaging climatic, environmental, economic, social and geopolitical instability. It is up to each and all of us to respond to this current and present threat to our own health and our children’s future. It’s going to be a huge challenge but there is much that we can and must do. In this lecture, Dr Fiona Godlee will share the climate science and the threats to health, and explore the actions we can all take to respond to this climate and health crisis.

Speaker:  Dr Fiona Godlee

Fiona Godlee is a medical doctor, editor, writer and campaigner. She has written, researched and lectured on a broad range of subjects, including the impact of environmental degradation on health, drug policy reform, academic peer review, open access publishing, and the need for transparency, integrity and independence in medical research, education and practice.  She is a Trustee of the Eden Project and chair of Eden's Board Affairs Committee. She helped to establish and is an ambassador for the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change and is chair of the Youth Environmental Service. From 2005 to 2021 she was Editor in Chief of The BMJ (British Medical Journal) and Editorial Director of its parent company BMJ. Prior to that she was the founding Director of BMJ Knowledge, founding Editorial Director for Medicine of BioMedCentral, and co-editor of Peer Review in Health Sciences. She has served as President of the World Association of Medical Editors and Chair of the Committee on Publication Ethics. She studied history of medicine at the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, qualified as a doctor from the University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, and trained as a general physician in Cambridge and London. She was a Harkness Fellow at Harvard Medical School from 1994-5. She is a Bye Fellow of King's College Cambridge, a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, and holds honorary fellowships with the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Faculty of Public Health, and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. Fiona lives in Cambridge with her husband and two children.

Listen to an interview with Dr Fiona Godlee on the BMJ website, as she stepped down as Editor in Chief of the BMJ after 16 years

The Annual Lecture will be preceeded by a showcase of work from across the Centre for Population Health Sciences and wider Usher Institute.

This is a free event, open to the public - please register if you plan to attend.

The event will be held in The University of Edinburgh's prestigious graduation hall, McEwan Hall, in central Edinburgh.

There will an option to join the keynote lecture remotely for those unable to attend in person.

(Please note: there may be photography/videography at this event)

Annual Lectures - History

The Annual Lecture is our most prestigious flagship event. We have had the privilege to welcome leading academics from across the world to deliver our annual lectures. Previous speakers have included Professor Sir Martin Landray, Dr Victor Dzau, Professor Chris Whitty, Dr David Blumenthal and Professor John Ioannidis.

Past event highlights

Usher Institute Annual Lecture and Showcase 2022, speaker: Fiona Godlee
Oct 27 2022 -

Usher Institute Annual Lecture 2022

Annual Lecture and Showcase 2022 - Dr Fiona Godlee

McEwan Hall, Edinburgh