Former Unit Director awarded Honorary Fellowship

17 March 2015

The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has announced that Professor Tumani Corrah has been awarded an Honorary Fellowship in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the progress of clinical research in The Gambia and in West Africa as a whole.

A Honorary Fellowship is the highest honour the School can bestow and is given to those who have achieved exceptional international distinction in public health, international health or tropical medicine, or who have rendered exceptional service to the School.

Tumani CorrahProfessor Tumani Corrah is the MRC’s founding Director of Africa Research Development.   In 2014 he was conferred with the title Emeritus Director of the MRC Unit in The Gambia, following over 30 years’ service to The Unit, and in recognition of his outstanding decade-long leadership.

As Director of MRC Unit The Gambia, Professor Corrah oversaw the evolution of The Unit’s science portfolio, ensuring its continued relevance to the pressing health needs of Gambians and people of the wider West African Sub-Region. His achievements include supporting the University of The Gambia’s medical school with a head of paediatrics and an additional senior scientist, establishing a new hub in Dakar, Senegal, as well as building new immunology labs, clinical services buildings and infrastructure in Basse.

In tandem with his leadership role, Professor Corrah retained a profound commitment to pursuing his research interests in tropical and infectious diseases, particularly tuberculosis; his PhD was based on his studies on tuberculosis, which included an innovative trial of immunotherapy as an adjunct to the treatment of this infection in The Gambia.  In addition to his leadership and research roles, Professor Corrah has also retained a passion for clinical medicine, and he continues to use his clinical expertise to serve the people of The Gambia and beyond.

An expert on research governance, Professor Corrah was a long-standing member of the Gambia Government/MRC Ethics Committee, including four years as Chair. He maintains strong links with governmental and non-governmental organisations in Africa and throughout the world.

Having established a number of productive, mutually beneficial ‘North-South’ collaborations he is an expert in capacity building and has been an excellent mentor for many young African and expatriate scientists. Over the years he helped to strengthen undergraduate science studies with scholarships to UK universities and secured grants for BScs, MScs and postdocs.

Professor Corrah currently chairs the EDCTP’s Strategic Advisory Committee and has served on numerous other international scientific review and advisory boards, including the EDCTP’s Partnership Board, Advisory Committee of the Bill & Melinda Gates Global Health programme and various WHO committees. He is a past President of the West African College of Physicians and directs the WACP’s International Office, where he is responsible for establishing global partnerships. In 2007, his contribution to research in West Africa was recognised by the award of a CBE.

Among the list of Honorary Fellows is another former Unit Director, Professor Sir Brian Greenwood, who spent 15 years as Director of the MRC Unit in The Gambia from 1980 up to 1995. Professor Corrah joined The Unit in 1982, having been ‘head hunted’ as a young clinician by Professor Sir Brian Greenwood.

Commenting on Professor Corrah’s achievement, Unit Director Professor Umberto D’Alessandro said: “The honorary fellowship awarded to Professor Tumani Corrah is a well-deserved recognition for having successfully led MRC Unit The Gambia over the last 10 years.

“It also recognises his commitment to the training and support of young African scientists. I would like to congratulate him for such an achievement and I am confident we will continue to benefit from his experience and support.”