The Alleyn Club President
Professor Andrew Tomkins, OBE, FRCP, FRCPCH, FFPHM, FMedSci (OA 1954 - 1961)
Andrew came to Dulwich College as a result of the “11 Plus Exam” and was privileged to be taught by Terry Walsh. Andrew was not a “high-flyer” academically or in sport but really enjoyed playing for the Second XV and was a prefect in Grenville. He became particularly interested in science. His teachers in Biology (Jones), Chemistry (Mallinson) and Physics (Hebditch) were inspirational. Andrew qualified in Medicine and did postgraduate training at UCH and then joined a team of doctors working in a new medical school and hospital in northern Nigeria. Andrew noted the way that nutrition and infection interacted, often dangerously so in children, and was awarded research fellowships at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). He then worked in the Medical Research Council units in Nigeria and the Gambia setting up research studies to improve the prevention and care of paediatric infection.
He returned to the LSHTM to set up a research unit collaborating with researchers overseas, focusing on micronutrient deficiencies and their impact on outcomes from paediatric infection. With colleagues, he identified one of the first cases of HIV in England and he still has the reject letter from an academic journal saying the finding was “unimportant”! Andrew was appointed to establish a new department (the Centre for International Child Health – now the Institute for Global Health) - at the Institute for Child Health/Great Ormond Street Hospital. This involved building a team of researchers in Nutrition, Perinatal Care and Disability. He was privileged to recruit very bright staff and research fellows and has enormous enthusiasm for the academic development of PhD students and research fellows, especially from developing countries.
Andrew has advised WHO, UNICEF, the World Bank, DFID and overseas governments as well as UK research funding bodies including the Wellcome Trust and the MRC. He has been President of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and has been on the Boards of academic journals and various charities, including Tearfund.
As Andrew has lived and worked overseas for most of his professional life, he was extremely surprised, but deeply honoured and delighted, to be invited to be President of the Alleyn Club. He aims to contribute to the newly formed OAs in HealthCare Group, foster the mentoring of alumni by alumni and promote the forthcoming celebrations of the 400th anniversary of the foundation of Dulwich College.
Andrew married Celia - a delightful JAGs girl - and they have 3 children and 4 grandchildren. Andrew’s brother (Simon) and nephew (Ben) also went to Dulwich.
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