Doctor of Science awarded to Medical School academic

25 January 2023
simon gilbody
Professor Simon Gilbody was awarded a Higher Doctorate in Science by the University of York at its winter graduation ceremonies. The degree of Doctor of Science [DSc] represents the highest award for scholarship that can be made by the University and recognises sustained research that is internationally regarded. 

Simon joined Hull York Medical School in 2005, soon after the Medical School was formed. With investment from the School, he established the Mental Health Research Group in York and was made foundation Professor of Psychological Medicine in 2007. Hull York Medical School and the University of York are now recognised as the leading centre for mental health research in the North of England. Simon is a celebrated clinical epidemiologist and trialist in his field, and remains a practicing NHS psychiatrist.

Simon’s Higher Doctoral thesis was titled 'Effective and efficient primary care for depression' and it summarised two decades of scholarship since the award of his PhD by the University of York in 2001.  His clinical epidemiological research includes the largest clinical trials programme ever undertaken in UK primary care to combat depression in older people. The research portfolio that formed the basis of his DSc has been published in some of the world’s highest impact journals, including the Journal of the American Medical Association [JAMA], and the British Medical Journal [BMJ].  Together with his Medical School colleague, Professor Dean McMillan, Simon led the School’s response to the psychological impacts of the COVID pandemic. The results of his COVID-19 BASIL trials to tackle the epidemic of loneliness in older people are now entering the public domain.

Reflecting on his research career and speaking of his award, Simon said: "my nana would always point out that I am the first Gilbody to attend university in a thousand generations. To which I can now add that I am the first medically-qualified recipient of the DSc from the University of York. This is an immense honour and a great recognition of Hull York Medical School’s mental health research programme by the University of York."

Congratulating Simon on his award, Medical School  Professor Lina Gega, Director of the newly-established Institute for Mental Health Research at York [IMRY] said: "Professor Gilbody is a trailblazer for mental health research at York and in the Medical School. IMRY builds on his work and his legacy. We are proud to call him our colleague."

Present at the January Graduation was Professor Una MacLeod, Dean of Hull York Medical School.  She added: "since its foundation, the Medical School has placed mental health and epidemiology at the centre of its curriculum. This is reflected in Simon’s work and I am delighted to see him receive this prestigious award from the University of York."