"One of the greatest psychiatrists of our time" - Bromley professor who discovered eating disorder to receive award

PUBLISHED: 09:43 12 January 2016 | UPDATED: 09:43 12 January 2016

Gerald Russell

Gerald Russell


Professor Gerald Russell is from West Wickham

A West Wickham professor who discovered, described and named the bulimia nervosa illness has been recognised with a national honour.

Professor Gerald Russell is one of 33 recipients of the British Citizen Awards, after winners were selected following public nomination.

He received nominations from his secretary, Victoria Faint, and a former neighbour, Barbara Gray.

Mrs Faint said: “Professor Russell is undoubtedly one of the greatest psychiatrists of our time. I have worked closely with him as his secretary for more than 20 years and believe him to be a truly great man, who has devoted his life to medicine and helping others.

“He is a wonderful teacher and gets great pleasure from passing on his knowledge and experience to the next generation. Many top consultants across the world started in psychiatry under his leadership and guidance.

“His discovery of bulimia nervosa and his research into the treatment of eating disorders has undoubtedly saved hundreds of lives, and released many others from a lifetime of misery caused by their debilitating illnesses.”

Professor Russell, who first named the illness in 1979, is the namesake for the physical condition associated with bulimia, ‘Russell’s sign’.

The sign refers to calluses on the knuckles caused by those suffering with bulimia putting fingers down their throats to induce vomiting.

After a career spanning more than six decades, Professor Russell said: “I much appreciate the efforts made by the nominators who have expressed support for my work thus contributing to the continuity of treatment services and research in eating disorders.”

During his career, first starting in 1951, the 87-year-old developed family therapy for anorexia and set up clinical eating disorder units, which attracted patients from across the country.

Professor Russell will receive the BCA on January 28 at the Palace of Westminster.

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