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Chair of the Royal College of Physicians honoured by Northumbria University

7th July 2022

Chair of the Royal College of Physicians, Professor David Croisdale-Appleby OBE, has received an honorary degree of Doctor of Science from Northumbria University, Newcastle, in recognition of his distinguished career in health and social policy and his commitment to representing the interests of oppressed, vulnerable and disadvantaged people across the world.


Professor David Croisdale-Appleby is a leading expert on health and social care, an academic and career polymath. 


He has postgraduate degrees in no fewer than five academic disciplines and holds professorships in seven distinct academic departments, spanning medicine, science, social science, and the humanities. 


Professor Croisdale-Appleby has led many public sector organisations in medicine, health and social care, social work, forensic science, and criminal and civil justice. His independent review of social work education, commissioned by the Government, has shaped the development of the profession, and forms the basis of the current major reform programme in social work. 


Professor Croisdale-Appleby’s relentless search for social justice has driven all that he does. Having devoted much of his life to representing the interests of the oppressed, vulnerable, disabled and disadvantaged people across the world, in 2009 he was awarded an OBE for his work for social justice. 


Speaking about his honorary degree, Professor Croisdale-Appleby said: “It is a very great honour to receive an Honorary Doctorate from such an innovative and exciting university which is making such a huge impact on society and the quality of lives of our fellow citizens. It is wonderful to join the other graduands today and become an alumnus of Northumbria University, something which really matters to me."

Professor David Croisdale-Appleby


His familiarity with the North East began with his education. He graduated from Newcastle University with a degree in Crystal Physics and Metallurgy. His first career was in Operational Research where he obtained his PhD, before taking up a career in advertising and communications. 


He developed the election strategy of the anti-apartheid Progressive Federal Party in South Africa. His hard-hitting campaign highlighted the death of Steve Biko, a leading anti-apartheid campaigner. As a direct result, Professor Croisdale-Appleby was arrested and interrogated by the ruling Nationalist party in South Africa. This phase of his career culminated in being the Worldwide Operations Director for one of the world’s largest communications groups, responsible for the network of 42 countries. But he gave this up in order to devote his time to public service and philanthropy.


However, while he stepped away from communications, he never completely stepped away from South Africa. He is the Honorary Ambassador for the United Kingdom for the Nelson Mandela Legacy Project – the creation of the first specialist Paediatric Hospital to serve the children of the 15-country Southern Africa Development Community.


At present, Professor Croisdale-Appleby chairs the Royal College of Physicians, Dementia UK, BeyondAutism, the Clinical, Public Health and Social Care Advisory Committees of the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence, and serves many other national and international organisations. 


His work currently includes how best to redress the physical and mental health deficits in our population and reduce the growing health inequalities amongst sections of society. 

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