GCU Professor awarded honorary doctorate from Umea University

03 November 2015

Professor Dawn Skelton

Professor Dawn Skelton

Dawn Skelton, Professor of Ageing and Health at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), has been awarded an honorary doctorate from the Faculty of Medicine at Umeå University in Sweden. She received the honorary degree at a graduation ceremony at the university campus.

The distinction recognises Professor Skelton’s contribution to research in gerontology and her commitment to and collaboration with Umea University, where she has been a visiting professor since 2013.  

Professor Skelton said: “I am delighted to have been selected for an honorary doctorate from the Faculty of Medicine at Umeå University. This accolade is a rarity and I feel very honoured.

“This honour also cements the research collaborations I have enjoyed building between the two universities.”

Professor Skelton obtained her first degree in Human Sciences at University College London in 1990 and her PhD in Human and Applied Physiology in 1995. She worked at the Human Performance Laboratory at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Stanmore and at University College London before becoming the first recipient of the Research into Ageing Queen Mother Research Fellowships.

She undertook her fellowship at St Mary’s Paddington and specialised in exercise interventions to reduce falls. She then moved into practice by becoming a Falls Researcher in the NHS at Merton, Sutton and Wandsworth Health Authority before taking on the role of Scientific Co-ordinator of the ProFaNE (Prevention of Falls Network Europe) project at the University of Manchester.

Moving to GCU in 2007, Professor Skelton leads the Healthy Ageing research group in the University’s Institute for Applied Health Research. She is a commissioned author for the World Health Organisation and the Department of Health. She works closely with staff and students at GCU to promote Functional Fitness MOTs for older people, an outreach way to help older people understand the different components of fitness that are needed for independent and healthy old age and promote engagement in activities that allow social engagement. 

Leading on a large Medical Research Council (MRC) grant on determinants of sedentary behaviour, and involved in a number of European grants, Professor Skelton is interested in translational research and heads up a project looking at the feasibility of implementing the Functional Fitness MOT within outpatient physiotherapy services and the effectiveness of implementing falls prevention exercise sessions through GP practices.