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Leading Plymouth University Dementia champion awarded British Empire Medal

Posted on June 10th 2019

Ian Sherriff, Academic Partnership Lead for Dementia at the University of Plymouth and founder member of the Plymouth University Dementia Group has been awarded a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday honours list. A leading figure in dementia care and research and ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Society, Ian’s award has been made in recognition of his services to people affected by dementia.

Ian, whose role within Alzheimer’s Society sees him travel the country to work with people to become Dementia Friends, said: “I’m completely blown away by the honour, and it’s a testament to the hard work of everyone involved in putting Plymouth – as a University and city – at the forefront of dementia care.”

Ian’s work, supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care, South West Peninsula (PenCLAHRC) has led to Plymouth becoming the first dementia friendly community in the UK. He delivers dementia awareness sessions to healthcare professionals, students, and organisations including the BBC across Plymouth and is the driving force behind seven Plymouth Dementia Conferences, attracting national and international speakers. He was integral in setting up the Plymouth Dementia Action Alliance (PDAA), of which he is currently Chair, enabling a citywide approach to dementia awareness. 

He is also part of the core team currently investigating how to introduce dementia support workers into GP surgeries and is a member of the Prime Minister’s Dementia Friendly Communities Challenge Group (2013 to date) and chairs the South West and South of England group. In his role as Chair of the Prime Minister’s Rural Dementia Group (2015 to date) he has worked closely with the gypsy and travellers’ community to raise awareness and understanding of dementia and to identify what socially sensitive dementia care means for them.

 As Chair of the Dementia Air Transport Group (2016–2020), he has worked with the Civil Aviation Authority, the aviation industry and people with dementia to introduce new CAA guidelines (2016) currently being implemented by all UK airports and airlines to assist passengers with hidden disabilities. His work also includes the Academic Dementia Global Group, which sees dementia teams from across the world meet up via video link to share ideas, challenges and best practice to improve the provision of dementia care.

Professor Judith Petts, CBE, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Plymouth, said: “The University of Plymouth is internationally renowned as a leader in dementia research and care, and Ian has spearheaded this in the last decade. His work has empowered people who might not have otherwise had a voice, while ensuring our research reaches people affected by the condition. We are all incredibly proud.”

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