Professor Imti Choonara

Professor Imtiaz Choonara
James Spence Medallist

Awarded the James Spence Medal in 2022

Citation submitted in 2021

Imti Choonara is the founding editor of BMJ Paediatrics Open, a nationally and internationally renowned paediatrician and pharmacologist and a friend and supporter of child health and paediatricians around the world, particularly in Cuba where he has volunteered for many years.

Imti has long been a friend and supporter of RCPCH, and in recent years his work as founder editor of the new College journal, BMJPO, has brought considerable benefits to the College and its members. He has worked hard at the difficult job of starting a new journal, and successfully attracted an increasing flow of interesting and excellent articles and made the financials work to the benefit of the College and the BMJ. Many academics around the world have found him to combine high academic standards with a strongly supportive approach, exactly what is needed from the best editors.

Imti had a long career before his partial retirement, training in the North of England (Alder Hey and Leeds) with his first academic appointment (Senior Lecturer in Paediatric Clinical Pharmacology) at Alder Hey before moving to be Professor in Child Health at Nottingham. Imti remains active in his partial retirement, continuing to edit BMJPO and also continuing to be research active in his own right. He has over 300 publications and numerous grants to his name.

Imti’s main contributions have been as one of a small group who established paediatric pharmacology in the UK and internationally from the 1980s onwards. He has published 3 of the leading textbooks on children’s medicines from 2000 onwards, as well as contributing at least 15 book chapters on paediatric pharmacology in texts such as Roberton’s Textbook of Neonatology and the Oxford Handbook for Paediatrics. He has also contributed greatly to our understanding of clinical trials of medicines for children and was active within NIHR and more broadly in supporting and assessing trials of medicines for children. Training the next generation has been a particular interest and he has supported the development of training in paediatric pharmacology at all levels, both nationally and across Europe. He was Secretary General of the European Society for Developmental Pharmacology 2004–2011. 

In his ‘spare’ time Imti has made a long-term contribution to child health internationally, particularly in Cuba where he has volunteered and worked with local paediatricians for many years.

As well as BMJPO he has undertaken many important tasks for RCPCH. He was on the College’s Medicines Committee 1995-2006 (as well as on the RCP Committee on Clinical Pharmacology), Chair of the RCPCH Working Group on Training in Paediatric Clinical Pharmacology (2001-03), contributed to the MasterCourse, Chair of the Paediatric Clinical Pharmacology CSAC 2004–2014 and Chair of the RCPCH Paediatric Clinical Pharmacology Specialty Group 2015-2018.

In summary, Professor Imtiaz Choonara has made an outstanding contributions to the advancement of knowledge and understanding in paediatrics and child health in the UK and internationally and would be a most appropriate beneficiary of the James Spence Medal from the RCPCH.