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OV

21 May

OV OBE

We would like to extend our heartiest congratulations to OV Dr Chris Lewis (Cl 86-95) who has been awarded a well-deserved OBE for services to International Development.

Chris’ career to date has been exceptional and we can only provide a snapshot here to give readers a better understanding of what he has achieved to date.

Currently Deputy Director, Deputy Chief Scientific Adviser, Research and Evidence Division for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) / DFID. Chris has been at the forefront of public health solutions across the globe. Most recently, he has been recognised for his work leading the science advice to inform the UK’s international response to Covid-19, including evidence-based prioritisation of responses, and scenario-based strategic planning approaches.

Chris previously led DFID Nigeria’s health team with a portfolio of health, nutrition, water and sanitation, working with Government of Nigeria on commencing their new funding for essential health services. He also initiated the UK’s response to the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, resulting in the control of the outbreak. In addition, Chris developed and led the £1billion cross-government Ross Fund, which aims to develop, test and deliver a range of new products to tackle infectious diseases.

Chris Lewis OV with health workers in Northern Nigeria

Prior to this, Chris led NGO humanitarian health responses to the earthquake in Haiti, cholera in Zimbabwe, drought in the Horn of Africa, and conflict in Cote d’Ivoire, as well as spending four years in South Sudan working with NGOs and the Ministry of Health on budget and policy development, health coordination, outbreak response, TB and primary health care.

Obviously, we would not want to ignore Chris’ 15 years within the NHS as a GP prior to, and alongside, his international work.

It was at School that Chris had his first experience of lower income countries with a trip to Nepal as part of the inaugural Himalayan Club. The expedition really opened his eyes and sparked his journey towards international aid.

On being asked what receiving the OBE meant, Chris explained: “My main feeling is one of gratitude for all the support from family, friends, colleagues and from school that has helped me progress my career and in turn be able to help and support others. I realise how privileged I have been with so much support from so many people over the years. It is really an honour to receive an award for doing a job that I love.”

It was also lovely to hear from John Walton (Hon OV), who organised the Himalayan Club at School: “Chris was an ideal pupil to take on a trip to the Himalayas in 1994. He was wide-eyed, open minded and absorbed everything that Nepal had to offer – culture, noise, and pollution in the towns, pristine landscapes, verdant forests and snowcapped mountains. He was also observant of the way people lived, often with very little material wealth but with an abundance of generosity.

“It was also a pleasure to have him join a trip to Ladakh in 2003 when he accompanied the group as a doctor, charged with looking after the health and welfare of King’s students. He was full of enthusiasm and energy, a trait he inherited from his parents, Richard and Anne, who also helped out with Himalayan Club trips. I am sure that those early experiences of remote cultures gave him a taste for his later medical assignments. He thoroughly deserves his award.”

Group photo of Himalayan club on Poon Hill, in front of Annupurna, Easter Sunday morning 1994 (Chris Lewis OV in the centre with the red and black fleece)

Hopefully it won’t be too long until Chris can receive his OBE in person at the Palace and we look forward to welcoming Dr Chris Lewis OBE back to King’s for a visit.