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Feature BMJ Awards 2014

Lifetime Achievement Award 2014: Sir Iain Chalmers

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 09 May 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g2921
  1. Nigel Hawkes, freelance journalist, London, UK
  1. nigel.hawkes1{at}

This award is given to a doctor who has made an outstanding contribution to improving health or healthcare in the UK

Sir Iain Chalmers, celebrated for a lifetime of achievement in this year’s The BMJ Awards, is a man who has to be coaxed into the limelight. He agreed to a portrait for the National Portrait Gallery with reluctance; friends say he wavered over accepting a knighthood, agreeing only because it brought shared credit to his collaborators. He refuses many invitations to talk about evidence based medicine—about which, as founder of the Cochrane Collaboration, he knows more and has contributed more than any other living person—because he has not practised medicine since 1973 and therefore feels his views don’t deserve any credibility. “I actively discourage anyone from seeing me as an expert in the sense of actually applying what evidence has taught us,” he told me.

So let his contemporaries and colleagues sing his praises. “His energy and single minded commitment is extraordinary—his working life has been studded with so many amazing achievements it’s hard to know where to start,” says Angela Coulter, director …

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