Women in medicine: Neena Modi and June Lloyd

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The Women in medicine project showcases a number of today’s leading female clinicians and the women from the history of medicine who have inspired them.

Professor Neena Modi is a consultant at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, professor of neonatal medicine at Imperial College London, and president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, one of only three women to hold that position.  

Neena qualified from the University of Edinburgh, completing her training at University College Hospital, London, and Liverpool University. She heads a major neonatal research programme focused on the perinatal determinants of lifelong health, and led the development of the UK National Neonatal Research Database, of which she is the current director.

Professor Modi has made many contributions to children’s services, and has been at the forefront of reinvigorating the clinical research base of paediatrics and child health. During her career she has served, among many other roles, as president of the UK Neonatal Society, president of the Academic Paediatrics Association of Great Britain and Ireland, and chair of The BMJ’s ethics committee.

June Lloyd was a determined advocate for children’s health and instrumental in the establishment of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. In honour of the scale of her positive impact on both the specialism and profession, her image is incorporated into the college’s coat of arms, placing her at the heart of the discipline to which she devoted her life.

Neena Modi on her inspiration June Lloyd

Professor June Lloyd, Baroness Lloyd of Highbury (1928–2006), was at the forefront of establishing paediatrics as an independent specialism, the first female president of the British Paediatric Association and a founder of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Studying medicine at Bristol, qualifying with honours and a gold medal, June Kathleen Lloyd spent her early career in Bristol, Oxford and Plymouth, becoming (in 1954) among the youngest female members of the Royal College of Physicians.

Persuaded away from paediatrics, and following a short time in public health, June returned to her great passion, child heath. She took a post at the University of Birmingham, developing a special interest in metabolic disorders, then moved to the Institute of Child Health at Great Ormond Street in the 1960s, before establishing a department of paediatrics at St George’s Hospital Medical School the following decade. In the 1980s, she returned to Great Ormond Street as Nuffield professor of child health.

In her roles at the British Paediatric Association and as a vice president of the Royal College of Physicians, Professor Lloyd ensured that, after 50 years, paediatricians finally gained control of their own affairs, with the establishment of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health in 1996.

Professor Lloyd was appointed DBE in 1990. On her elevation to the peerage in 1997, the new Baroness Lloyd of Highbury remarked, with typical dryness, that it was the best club in town, ‘But I am not a clubbable person’.