The Professor of Hope

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Professor Sube Banerjee is that rare beast: an esteemed clinician and academic with a tremendous way with words and bucketloads of empathy.

Last year he was appointed Executive Dean of Plymouth University’s cross-disciplinary Health Faculty, where along with his many other responsibilities, he jointly heads up Radio Me, a ground-breaking project that uses artificial intelligence to tailor live radio to an individual’s needs.

Previously, while Professor of Dementia and Associate Dean at Brighton and Sussex Medical School, he led research into the quality of life and care of those with dementia. “We have to focus on what individuals can do”, he says, “not what they can’t.  Kindness is the core.  And hope.  I sell hope”.

Professor Banerjee also pioneered a world-leading education programme called Time for Dementia, in which healthcare students regularly visit and talk to families of people with dementia to gain a deeper understanding of the long-term impact of the care that they themselves – as future doctors, nurses, occupational therapists, physios – will deliver.

In 2008, he led the development of the country’s first national dementia strategy – a huge step towards changing the way the condition is viewed, by both Government and public.  The professor was determined that it should be crafted and informed by those who really understand dementia, that is the people living with, and affected by it.  Today, this approach is becoming more common.  In 2008-2009, it was nye on revolutionary.

He describes dementia as the prime exemplar, globally, of the complexity of challenges facing health services of all sorts.  I totally agree, which is why I was so keen to talk to this warm, articulate professional.  I hope you enjoy listening to him as much as I enjoyed (virtually) meeting him.

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