18 March 2015 marks 25 years since the death of Kenneth Wyatt Newell, Middlemass Hunt Professor of Tropical Community Health and former Head of the Department of International Community Health at LSTM.
Professor Newell began his career as a medical officer in the Te Araroa Maori region of New Zealand, and as a testament to this community the Ngati Porou Tribe sold some of their cattle to finance his further training in the UK. He completed a masters in London before being appointed to the Public Health Laboratory in Colindale, before becoming a lecturer at Queen’s University in Belfast.
This was followed by work with the World Health Organization (WHO) and work in Columbia and New Orleans before returning to the WHO for 10 years, where he founded the Division of Research in Epidemiology and Communications Science and taking up the post of Director of the WHO Division for the Strengthening of Health Services.
Professor Newell joined LSTM as Professor of Tropical Community Health and Head of the Department of International Community Health in 1984. He set up a number of new programmes, education courses and research activities in his six years at LSTM and undertook a major research programme into hearing impairment in the developing world, with an emphasis on children under the age of 12.
In 1986 he set up the LSTM subsidiary company Liverpool Associates in Tropical Health (LATH) to secure contracts in health and health service development and to respond to requirements of funding agencies. The concept remains intact today through LSTM Consulting, providing quality programme management, consultancy and training in international health.
In commemoration of his death and in honour of his outstanding contribution to tropical community health, family and colleagues established the Ken Newell Memorial Bursary Fund in 1990. Today, Professor Newell’s widow and LSTM Vice President Dame Jane Newell DBE JP, has made a £10,000 donation to the Ken Newell Memorial Bursary Fund.
She said: “Ken was passionate about the work of the School and having spent many years as a fairly impoverished student himself was always looking for ways to encourage and support students who are committed to improving the health of some of the poorest communities worldwide.”
The Fund provides bursaries to exceptional students studying on LSTM’s Masters in International Public Health (MIPH). Since the inception of the Fund in 1990, more than 25 students have received bursaries to support their research. Thanks to the continued support of Dame Jane, the Fund will allow LSTM to continue to forge the careers of those who dedicate their working lives to improvements in the health and wellbeing of some of the world’s poorest communities. Following in the footsteps of Professor Newell, bursary recipients continue to improve health services in resource poor settings across the world.
LSTM’s Director of Education, Dr Sue Assinder, said: “Professor Newell’s legacy is key to LSTM’s current standing in the field of global health care. We are grateful for the continued support of his family, in particular the generosity of Dame Jane, which will allow more students to develop the skills required to make a positive impact on health services where they are needed most.”