Aubrey Sheiham

We are greatly saddened to announce that Professor Aubrey Sheiham, one of our most distinguished members,  passed away on the 24th November 2015.

Aubrey was a pioneer in public health globally and a highly respected and loved colleague. He was a driving force and constant advocate of evidence-based medicine and had the courage to challenge professional orthodoxy and powerful vested interests in order to promote oral health in the broader context of general health. In his 1977 Lancet paper, he challenged the then recommended routine 6 monthly dental recall as lacking any scientific basis and risking over-treatment. His seminal public health research on the harmful effects of sugars consumption on oral and general health has greatly influenced the recent WHO and UK recommendations on sugars reduction, as an important public health priority. Aubrey led international programmes of research on oral health inequalities and his work on social gradients has been fundamental in determining global research and policy agendas.

Over his career he published more than 480 papers and books and supervised 52 PhD students from 20 different countries, many of whom are now leading senior academics and policy makers. He received many national and international awards, including honorary doctorates from the University of Athens and University of the Western Cape, and the Distinguished Scientist Global Oral Health Research Award from the International Association of Dental Research.

Aubrey was a very kind and remarkable person that generously passed on and shared ideas and his passion for dental public health, thereby being an inspirational figure for many colleagues. He was also a committed advocate for human rights, actively involved in social movements for equality and social justice. He was always conscious about helping the next generations and gave considerable donations to promote research in Africa, such as the Cochrane Collaboration Aubrey Sheiham Evidence-based Health Care in Africa Leadership Award and the support to the Wits School of Public for research and development on policies to address health inequalities. A unique and visionary academic, he was without doubt ahead of his time. He will be greatly missed by friends and colleagues around the world.

Obituary first published by the European Association of Dental Public Health