Retirement of Professor Sally-Ann Cooper

Photo of Professor Anna Cooper and colleagues, February 2019Professor Cooper, OBE, BSc, MBBS, MD, FRCPsych, one of the world’s leading experts in learning disabilities research, has retired as Deputy Director of IHW and Director of the Scottish Learning Disabilities Observatory after a career spanning more than three decades.

Anna (as her friends and colleagues know her) has devoted her career to improving the lives of people with learning disabilities through her clinical practice and academic research and has been widely recognised for her work, culminating in her receiving an OBE for services to Science and Medicine in 2018.

Anna set up the first Scottish Learning Disabilities Observatory in 2015 with funding from the Scottish Government with the aim of raising awareness of and providing evidence-based solutions to the health inequalities people with learning disabilities experience.

‌Anna studied medicine at the University of London, gaining membership of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in 1989. In 1999, Anna moved to Scotland to take up the foundation Chair of Learning Disabilities at the University of Glasgow, establishing the Glasgow University Centre of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, whilst also working as a Consultant Psychiatrist in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

Anna has published extensively on the epidemiology of health and health inequalities in adults with learning disabilities, and trials of complex interventions to improve their health. She has played an instrumental role in advancing the quality of care for people with learning disabilities in Scotland, the UK and internationally; including chairing the NICE Guideline Development Group on mental ill health and people with learning disabilities, published September 2016; and developing diagnostic criteria for classification of mental-ill health for people with learning disabilities.

Photo of Professor Anna Cooper holding Athena SWAN Gold awardAnna has also been a strong advocate for the careers of women in STEM and in 2018 led the team that saw IHW achieve the prestigious Athena SWAN Gold Award.

Anna will continue as Emeritus Professor within the Institute and we look forward to lots of opportunities to collaborate with her to improve the health and lives of people with learning disabilities through research.

Anna will be greatly missed by her colleagues in the Institute of Health and Wellbeing and to celebrate her achievements the Institute invites colleagues to mark her retirement at an event in the Hunterian Museum on the 25th March 2019. (Register here)

Any contributions (cash or cheque) for a leaving gift may be given to your Unit Administrator and will be sent on to IHW admin

First published: 26 February 2019

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