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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 3-4

Professor James Ware, FRCS 8 July 1941 – 9 October 2015

Department of Nursing, School of Nursing, Faculty of Health and Social Care, University of Hull, United Kingdom

Date of Web Publication13-Jan-2016

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Roger Watson FRCP Edin
Department of Nursing, School of Nursing, Faculty of Health and Social Care, University of Hull
United Kingdom
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How to cite this article:
Watson FRCP Edin R. Professor James Ware, FRCS 8 July 1941 – 9 October 2015. J Health Spec 2016;4:3-4

How to cite this URL:
Watson FRCP Edin R. Professor James Ware, FRCS 8 July 1941 – 9 October 2015. J Health Spec [serial online] 2016 [cited 2021 Jan 17];4:3-4. Available from: https://www.thejhs.org/text.asp?2016/4/1/3/173848

Professor James Ware was a surgeon and medical educator who worked in Europe, Africa, the Far East and the Middle East. Born into a distinguished medical family - his father was an editor of the British Medical Journal - he attended Bryanston School in Dorset, England. He recounted how, in his science class, he inherited a set of microscope slides which had been passed down between generations of schoolboys (Bryanston was not then co-educational). These slides had the name 'Frederick Sanger' inscribed inside the lid. James had no idea who Frederick Sanger was at that time, but later realised that this was 'Fred' Sanger whose career as a biochemist included the amino acid sequencing of insulin and laying the foundation for the sequencing of DNA. Ware's comment, typically modest, was that he 'was not worthy'.

Ware went up to Cambridge to study medicine, qualifying in 1966. His early medical career progressed from House Officer at University College Hospital London, to Lecturer in Anatomy at the Royal Free Medical School and Senior House Officer at Birmingham Accident Hospital. He entered surgery in 1970 at the Mount Vernon Hospital Middlesex, obtained his Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1971 and continued to work as a general surgeon until 1974 at Charing Cross Hospital London. Ware then pursued an academic career in Sweden rising to Associate Professor of Surgery at the prestigious Karolinska Hospital and Institute in Sweden. He returned to a Senior Lectureship in Surgery at the University of Liverpool in 1982. His first chair was in Emergency and Critical Care Medicine when he became Professor at the United Arab Emirates University in 1989. A series of chairs took him through Malaysia (International Medical University 1996-2000), South Africa (University of Witwatersrand 2000-2003) and Hong Kong (Chinese University of Hong Kong 2003-2006). During this journey, in 2000, Ware left clinical practice to become a medical educator and his success in Hong Kong in establishing the IDEAL consortium - designed to share questions banks and develop online interactive educational resources - made him an international figure in his field.

Returning to the Middle East in 2006, Ware was appointed Professor and Director of Medical Education at the Kuwait University where he remained until 2011 when he was appointed Director of Medical Education and Postgraduate Studies at the Saudi Commission for Health Specialities (SCFHS) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Reading his CV, which is replete with refereed publications and research grants, is to listen to him talk: He describes his career with disarming honesty and frankness about where resistance to change was encountered, why new opportunities were sought and what the personal challenges were. A great deal was achieved in his final position at the SCFHS and this is testament to his hard work, enthusiasm and seemingly boundless energy. Again, typically modest, he omits to include one of his major achievements at the SCFHS - and one of which he was very proud - establishing and being Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Health Specialities. Where many with Ware's background and medical pedigree would see medicine and surgery as being pre-eminent, he was always careful to be inclusive and ensured, for example, that the inaugural edition included an article on nursing research. Another major achievement, and possibly the last event at which those of us not based in Saudi Arabia saw him, was organising the 2015 2nd Saudi Commission for Health Specialities International Conference.

James' health was declining in recent years. He treated open heart surgery with boyish curiosity rather than self-pity and, at least to the observer, he never slowed down. He often talked of retirement in Uganda where he had property, possibly the only ambition he did not fulfil. Any room was full with James Ware in it; full of laughter and conversation and he always made sure that everyone was included. Nobody was allowed to sink into the shadows and to each, you were introduced as if you led your field and ought to be listened to. James worked until the time of his death and will be much missed by colleagues, friends and especially by his wife Freda and their children.


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