Date of death: 20 August 2010
Year James Spence Medal awarded: 1980
Jim Tanner began his medical education at St Mary’s Hospital, London, and carried out most of his clinical course in Philadelphia, before returning to London to qualify. He served as medical officer in war-time Maudsley Hospital and as a junior psychiatrist at the Prisoner-of-War Rehabilitation Unit in Kent.
A large part of Tanner’s work was on growth. After joining the Department of Human Anatomy at Oxford, he began a course on growth in children, leading to more studies, including the Harpenden Longitudinal Growth Study. He taught endocrinology in the Sherrington School of Physiology at St Thomas’ Hospital and started a growth disorder clinic at the Hospital for Sick Children, which led to pioneering treatment.
He had a long relationship with the Institute of Child Health and gave lectures on the growth of children, and was one of the founding members of the Society for the Study of Human Biology and an editor of its journal ‘Annals of Human Biology’. He received the Medal for his high quality and well respected contributions to paediatrics.