Development & Alumni Relations Office 

Richard Burkewood Welbourn, MA, MD, FRCS

Dick Welbourn was a leader in the field of surgical endocrinology and an internationally recognised teacher, lecturer and author.  As Professor and Chairman of the Department of Surgery, Royal Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith Hospital, he was at the forefront of the developing specialty of surgical endocrinology.

His interest in endocrinology was stimulated by a year in 1951 as a Fulbright Scholar in the Mayo Clinic, Minnesota, where the new drug cortisone was being used by the Nobel prize-winners Kendall and Hench.  Dr Welbourn who joined the staff of Queen's in 1952 started performing adrenalectomy for Cushing's disease and was appointed Professor of Surgical Science at Queen's in 1958.

In 1962 he was invited to the Hammersmith and became known for his work on the ectopic ACTH syndrome, phaeochromocytoma and for his contributions to the science and surgery of the adrenals, hormone-dependent cancer, gut and stomach.

Dick travelled widely, lecturing in 5 continents.  He was a President of the Surgical Research Society, the British Association of Endocrine Surgeons and of the International Surgical Group.  He was Vice-President of The Institute of Medical Ethics and the Section of Surgery, RSM.

Dick was educated at Rugby School, Emmanuel College Cambridge and Liverpool University.  Graduating in 1942, he worked as Casualty Officer at the Royal Southern Hospital.  Called up in January 1943, his RAMC Field Dressing Station followed the D-day landings into France and the Low Countries.  He married Rachel Haighton BDS in 1944 (5 children).  Demobbed in 1947, he returned to surgery in Liverpool.

He wrote 'Clinical Endocrinology for Surgeons' (1963) and 'Medical and Surgical Endocrinology' (1975) with Professor D Montgomery.  With Professors A Duncan and G Dunstan, he edited 'The Dictionary of Medical Ethics' (1977).  He became Professor of Surgical Endocrinology (1979) and Professor Emeritus, London University (1983).  As Visiting Research Fellow at UCLA, he wrote 'The History of Endocrine Surgery' (1990).

He was given the Distinguished Service Award of the International Association of Endocrine Surgeons (Stockholm 1991) 'in recognition of his many pioneering efforts in the field of Endocrine Surgeons, ... his early recognition of the importance of international postgraduate training and the initiation of the first international course in Endocrine Surgery'.  His many other honorary awards included a DSc from Queen's in 1985.



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