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Professor Sir Harry Burns appointed as WAVE Trust’s first Senior Fellow

06 July 2014

One of the UK’s most influential children’s charities, WAVE Trust, has named Scotland’s renowned former Chief Medical Officer, Sir Harry Burns, as its inaugural Senior Fellow.

WAVE’s founder/CEO, George Hosking OBE, stated: 

We are thrilled that one of our greatest champions of the health and wellbeing of young children is joining WAVE’s team. Professor Burns’ tireless efforts to use the latest scientific knowledge to create health and prevent harm before it  happens – especially in the earliest years of life -- have been a game changer in Scotland. Sir Harry’s passionate leadership, bold thinking and effective action are deeply respected, and his involvement and advice are sought, across the UK, Europe and internationally. 

Fifteen years after the creation of Worldwide Alternatives to ViolencE, WAVE has launched a Senior Fellows programme. This small group of experienced, distinguished and trusted leaders will make numerous meaningful contributions to the success of WAVE’s 70/30 commitment. 

70/30 is WAVE’s campaign to reduce child maltreatment by at least 70% by 2030. WAVE’s role is to be the initial catalyst for a positive, ‘all hands on deck’ public, private, voluntary and community effort toward: Every baby nurtured; Every child thriving; and, Every parent prepared and supported. 

In accepting this appointment, Sir Harry said: 

I have admired, and been influenced by, WAVE’s work during my years as Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer. This included WAVE’s behind the scenes assistance with Scotland’s pioneering Early Years Collaborative. WAVE has earned its reputation as ‘punching far above its weight’. Its Senior Fellow programme is a welcome opportunity to further WAVE’s reach, and deepen its impact, in new and powerful ways. 

I do not view 70/30 as either wishful thinking or an unachievable goal. On the contrary, reducing child maltreatment by 70% in the next fifteen years is the minimum acceptable outcome in responding to this unacceptable (and profoundly costly) harm to our youngest children. Our actions as a society must prove that we really do find all child abuse, neglect and toxic childhood environments intolerable . . . by no longer tolerating them. Complementing my academic work, my affiliation with WAVE will help me keep taking actions that increase health, promote wellbeing and really give every child the kind of brilliant start in life we wish for our own children. 


1. Sir Harry Burns is Strathclyde’s Professor of Global Health. He also has a leadership position within the International Prevention Research Institute (IPRI). Burns graduated in medicine from Glasgow University in 1974. He trained in surgery and was appointed Honorary Consultant Surgeon and Senior Lecturer in Surgery at the Royal Infirmary in Glasgow in 1984. Working with patients in the east end of Glasgow gave him an insight into the complex inter-relationships between socioeconomic status and illness. He completed a Masters Degree in Public Health in 1990. In 1994, he became Greater Glasgow’s Public Health Director. He later was a national leader in cancer prevention and care. From 2005 until 2014, Dr Burns served as Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, where his responsibilities included public health policy. He gave strong priority to early childhood, including co-chairing the Scottish Government’s Early Years Task Force. He was knighted in 2011. 

2.  He can be reached by contacting For more information, see: