Wednesday, 21 October, 2015 - 16:30 to 18:15

An event organised in collaboration between the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and the University of Edinburgh

How did the City of Edinburgh progress from its Auld Reekie (meaning dirty and smelly) status to being a beacon of medical sciences, with its citizens being amongst the healthiest in Scotland?  What are the lessons from this experience that we can export to other cities and utilise to make Edinburgh an even healthier place?

This symposium is a celebration of public health that marks the 150th anniversary of the landmark first report of the first medical officer of health of Edinburgh – Sir Henry Littlejohn. The ‘Report on the Sanitary Condition of the City of Edinburgh’ was published in 1865, 33 years before the creation of The University of Edinburgh Chair of Public Health (1898).  Four years after that the Usher Institute of Public Health opened its doors (1902).

This symposium is part-sponsored by the Centenary of Public Health Fund, which was set up in 2002 as part of the Centenary celebrations of the Usher Institute of Public Health.  The name Usher Institute was out of use from 1988-2015 but The University of Edinburgh has resurrected it this year in the form of the Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences and Informatics.  This is an apt year to reflect on the past and future of public health.

Time Programme
3.30 – 4:30 pm

Refreshments and exhibitions

Welcome by Thomas Elliott

4:30 pm – 4:40 pm Chair’s introduction and welcome: Raj Bhopal
4:40 pm – 5:10 pm

Legacy of Sir Henry Littlejohn: from insanitary city to beacon of health?

Richard Rodger and Paul Laxton

5:10 pm – 5:40 pm

Report on the sanitary condition of the City of Edinburgh 2015.

Alison McCallum

5:40 pm – 5:55 pm

Public health hopes: what might Edinburgh be like in 150 years?  Will we capitalise on our legacy?

Vittal Katikireddi on behalf of those training in public health

5:55 pm – 6:15 pm

Questions, comments and discussion, and closing remarks

6.15pm -–


Browsing of the exhibition and close of the symposium