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Professor Roy Shires wins International Excellence in Endocrinology Award

- Wits University

The Endocrine Society in Washington, D.C. has named Wits Professor Roy Shires as the recipient of the 2020 International Excellence in Endocrinology Award.

Shires was recognised at the virtual 2020 Laureate Awards presentation hosted by the Endocrine Society on 21 March 2021.

The annual award for international excellence in endocrinology recognises an endocrinologist who resides outside the U.S and has made exceptional contributions to the field of endocrinology in geographic areas with underdeveloped resources for endocrine research, education, clinical practice, or administration.

Endocrinology is the study of hormones. An endocrinologist is a doctor that treats diseases related to problems with hormones (chemical messengers).

Shires is Professor of Medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine, School of Clinical Medicine at Wits and in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital (Bara) in Soweto.

Although his interest in endocrinology is in bone and mineral metabolism, he most recently initiated a programme for transgender people at Bara to meet a growing need.

Shires joined Bara in 1986, when he was the first head of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism. This Wits teaching hospital is the largest in Africa and the only tertiary medical facility serving the largely impoverished and underprivileged population of Soweto.

Despite clinical demands at this under-resourced hospital, which places severe constraints on opportunities for research, Shires has managed to perform meaningful clinical research, often collaborating with basic scientists.

His scientific publications have won him the best annual publication award from the Society for Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes of South Africa (SEMDSA) a number of times.

He is acknowledged as an inspiring mentor by students, postgraduates, and fellows.

Shires has often served as an examiner and examination coordinator for the endocrinology subspecialty diploma of the College of Medicine of South Africa and has also served as chairperson of the organising committee for many SEMDSA annual conferences.

In recognition of his multifaceted contributions to endocrinology in South Africa, he was acknowledged in 2013 with a lifetime award from SEMDSA “for excellence and dedication in clinical services, teaching and research in endocrinology”, and Wits awarded him its Distinguished Service Medal of Excellence.

In 2017, Shires was made an Honorary Member of SEMDSA, the only such honor bestowed in a long time.