Professor Ewan Macdonald has been at the forefront of both occupational health development and research for over thity years. He has led services in fields as diverse as coal mining, computer manufacture, aluminium smelting, textiles and latterly the NHS.
Always research active, he became a part-time academic at the University of Glasgow in 1990 and created and leads the Healthy Working Lives Group. Research interests include mercurey in dentists, ill health retirement, competencies of occupational physicians, sickness absence, vocational rehabilitaiton, risk factors for job loss, the movements between work and worklessness, and the biology of the workless.
His pasion is to improve the health and functional capacity of working age people, and through that, reduce health inequalities and increase socio-economic capacity.
He proposed the Healthy Working Lives paradigm, which was adopted by Scottish Government in 2004 and recently has proposed a new approach to improving the functional capacity of the UK population. Another innovation was the development, with others, of the first Observatory for Work and Health in the UK, based at the University.
Since 1990 he has created and directed SALUS, the occupational health and safety service of NHS Lanarkshire. SALUS is now the largest multidisciplinary service in the NHS, and the only one to provide extensive services to the working age population including the workless. In addition, it provides services to over 180 organisations in both the public and private sectors and generates significant income to the NHS.
He has been Dean of the UK Faculty of Occupational Medicine and also was a founder and President of the Section of Occupational Medicine of the Union of Eaurpean Medical Specialists. He was awarded the OBE for services to occupational medicine in 2002.