Your Society: Looking back on 2021

Published: 20 Dec 2021
Category: Your Society

The approaching end of 2021 means it is also a year since UK regulators approved the first COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use. I had hoped that a year later we might be closer to seeing light at the end of the tunnel, however as I write this blog, cases are rising and the Chief Medical Officer and one of our newest Honorary Fellows, Professor Chris Whitty, has told us once again to ‘prioritise those things, and only those things, that really matter’ ahead of the festive period. I hope therefore that this blog finds you and yours safe and healthy.

Once again, I want to thank all our members who continue to work incredibly hard in support of the vaccination programme, our members on the front line in clinical settings, those teaching the next generation of pharmacologists, or developing lifesaving medicines to tackle current and future health challenges.

Despite how 2021 looks set to finish, I was delighted that we could go ahead with our first hybrid meetings earlier this month, with our AGM at the British Library and our 90th Anniversary Celebration event at the Royal College of Physicians. The 90th anniversary event was a real 2021 highlight for me, and we had lots of amazing content. Our Fellow, Professor Julia Buckingham, gave an inspiring talk on how pharmacology has evolved over the Society’s lifetime. We also honoured two giants of pharmacology, Professor Sir Colin Dollery and Professor Sir Alasdair Breckenridge. Professor Amrita Ahluwalia also gave a fascinating overview of the British Journal of Pharmacology’s 75 year history of leading the way in the publication of pharmacological research. I personally enjoyed it immensely and felt it was – as one attendee described it – ‘a great showcase for the discipline’. I was delighted to meet many of you there and look forward to more meetings in the new year, in particular Pharmacology 2022 in Liverpool.

I would like to thank all our members but particularly our Trustees, Vice Presidents and Committee members for the significant time you have given to support the Society’s activities this year. I also need to give a special thanks to our outgoing President, Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed, for leading the organisation through the pandemic and being a huge personal support to me as I learnt the ropes at the Society. Throughout Munir’s two years as President, his calm and measured leadership ensured the Society continued to grow in strength and numbers. I am certain that being the only Society President to serve during a pandemic was something he did not expect to add to his impressive career history, but I am glad to have worked so closely with him during this time. I am also delighted we could learn more about his personal experiences at our ‘in conversation’ event, which took place alongside the AGM.

Finally, as some of you will be aware, we have been working hard on a refreshed three-year strategy for the Society. We will launch the strategy in January, and I am excited to hear what you think and to get stuck into delivering it with, and for, you.

Wishing you all a wonderful end to 2021 and a very happy New Year.

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