At a reception to celebrate the centenary of the British Cardiovascular Society, Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal presented the Society’s highest honour, the Mackenzie medal, to Professor Jane Somerville. Professor Somerville is emeritus professor of cardiology, Imperial College and one of Britain’s most eminent physicians.
Her Royal Highness listed some of Jane’s groundbreaking achievements which improved care for thousands of patients:
- She defined and developed the concept and subspecialty of grown-ups with congenital heart disease (GUCH)
- She worked alongside cardio-thoracic surgeon Donald Ross, who chose her to be the cardiologist for the first heart transplantation in the UK in 1968. They co-authored a number of innovative articles, including in 1966, the first report of the use of a homograft aortic valve to repair pulmonary atresia
- Her work led to the opening of the world’s first dedicated ward for children and adolescents with congenital heart disease, the first World Congress of Paediatric Cardiology in London, and a GUCH charity which was later renamed “The Somerville Foundation” in her honour.
- Jane is the recipient of the Gold Medal of the European Society of Cardiology, the Guys Treasurers Gold Medal in clinical surgery and the Distinguished Service Award of the American College of Cardiology.
- In 2012, she was named as one of five legends in cardiology at the American College of Cardiology Scientific Sessions and is the second woman, after Helen Taussig, to enter the Paediatric Cardiology Hall of Fame
The Mackenzie Medal is named after Sir James Mackenzie, a Scottish cardiologist who pioneered the study of cardiac arrhythmias, and is the Society’s highest honour.