5 Minutes With...Professor David Burn

5 minutes with...Professor David Burn

2nd May 2019

Can you give us a little background on you and your career?

I took up the position of Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the Faculty of Medical Sciences, Newcastle University on the 1st February 2017.

I am also Professor of Movement Disorders Neurology and Honorary Consultant Neurologist for Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. My first degree was at Oxford (Physiological Sciences), returning to my native North East for clinical training and early medical jobs, including neurology. After further neurology training and undertaking research in London (National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square and Hammersmith Hospital) I was appointed as a Consultant Neurologist and Senior Lecturer in Newcastle in 1994.

My research area is dementia associated with Parkinson’s. I am an Emeritus NIHR Senior Investigator, chair the NIHR Translational Research Collaboration for Dementia and up until September 2017 was National Clinical Director for Parkinson’s UK.

When did you become an NHSA Board Member?

July 2018

What led you to want to serve on the NHSA Board and how do you contribute?

I truly believe that the North is stronger together, and that each constituent part of the NHSA brings different strengths to the table. I contribute as Chair of the Board, working closely with the CEO to ensure we represent our members and the people of the north as best we can.

What is it, from your perspective, that makes the NHSA successful?

A collegiate and can-do approach, supported by an excellent core NHSA team.

What, from your perspective, are our greatest challenges?

Internally: Members feeling that the NHSA does not provide them with “added value”.

Externally: Not attracting our “fair share” of funding from national and international sources.

And what are our greatest opportunities?

The Government’s commitment to raise R&D spend to 2.4% GDP, and all the initiatives (like the Industry Strategy Challenge Fund), that goes with this pledge. And relatedly, how we can use these large tranches of money to improve health and wealth in the North.

What message do you have for our members and stakeholder community?

The NHSA is a great collaboration – we have literally only started to realise our true potential, but can only do this if we work together.

Where would you like to see the NHSA in 10 years time?

A self-sustaining, internationally acclaimed organisation, that can say: “we did X & Y to help the people of the North live better and healthier lives”

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