Obituary – Professor Crispian Scully

It is with great sadness that we recently lost Professor Crispian Scully, who was a key trustee for the ODRT.

Professor Crispian Scully MD, PhD, MDS, MRCS, BSc, FDSRCS, FDSRCPS, FFDRCSI, FDSRCSE, FRCPath, FMedSci, FHEA, FUCL, DSc, DChD, DMed (HC), Dr.hc had an outstanding life.

His positions included: Crispian Scully is UCL Emeritus Professor; King James IV Professor, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh; WHO Collaborating Centre for Oral Health-General Health Director; British Society for Oral Medicine President; Royal College of Surgeons Council Member; Oral Diseases, and Medicina Oral Editor; Journal of Investigative and Clinical Dentistry Associate Editor.

He published over 1000 MEDLINE papers, 400 research papers, 200 reviews, 150 chapters, 50 clinical papers, 34 authored and 11 edited books. H factor 56. Crispian Scully had been awarded the Colgate-Palmolive Prize of International Association for Dental Research, UCL Fellowship, University Doctorates (Athens, Granada, Helsinki, Pretoria), University Medals (Helsinki, Granada, Santiago de Compostela), Oral Medicine Societies Awards (Spanish, Romanian and Greek ), UK Award for Most Outstanding Achievements in Dentistry, and Commander of British Empire (CBE).

He will be greatly missed by the profession.

Thoughts from the Trustees:

The word “Giant” is a term frequently over used in clinical academia; however, Crispian Scully is a genuine exception to that rule. Cris’s contribution to Oral Medicine and Dentistry in general was incredible and his track record of producing high quality and influential textbooks will, I suspect be unsurpassed. I discovered by chance that he was unwell, one late November several years ago, but he swore me to secrecy: he was a private man and above all a very proud man.

Crispian divided opinion; he loved to be controversial, but raised important and difficult issues, moving the agenda always forwards. He was inspirational, challenging, and incredibly industrious with a vitality that belied his 71 years, but he did not “bear fools lightly”. A razor sharp mind, clarity of thought and always innovating, he had a genuinely global impact throughout his long career. He became a friend in an odd sort of way, almost a soul mate and could be incredibly supporting and warm if he felt you were working hard and doing your best. He respected industry and passion for dentistry and his contribution to the ODRT in his 4 years as council member was fantastic – epitomising his approach to life in general. I shall miss him hugely, if only for the daily e-mails keeping me on my toes, challenging me, and sharing his dry sense of humour and irony……no one could help but smile when an e-mail from Crispian arrived and you spend 5 minutes reading his signature line, the longest set of accolades I have aver witnessed.

Thank you Crispian for everything, you will live on in our thoughts and discussions and your legacy is one the dental world will revere for many many years to come. Rest in Peace.” – Professor Iain Chapple

We all knew Cris as an active and highly respected clinician in Oral Medicine, his less-well known legacy concerned adult patients with special needs. He was a powerful advocate for the Special Care community with a particular emphasis on the group of patients he knew best whose medical condition significantly affected their oral health and oral health care needs. This interest went beyond the conventional boundaries or Oral Medicine into their more holistic oral health care. This was brought to my mind recently in a conversation with a Rhuematologist from UCL who asked me “where can I send my patients now that Cris is no longer at the Eastman”

We have lost not only a clinical scientist and research leader of the highest quality, but also a very careful and caring clinician whose example will be difficult to replace. We will all miss him, his energy and his ever questioning mind.” – Professor Angus Walls

“Academic dentistry has lost a great.  Crispian’s questioning mantra provides a path for us all to follow.” – Professor Mike Curtis

“It was a great pleasure to know, work and publish with Crispian Scully. The list of degrees, publications and awards included in Crispian’s curriculum vitae is hugely impressive, but fails to record many of the selfless ways in which Crispian made a difference to dentistry and the care of patients. While Crispian is no longer with us, his powerful legacy will greatly impact present and future generations of colleagues and patients.” – Professor Nairn Wilson CBE

“Crispian lead an impressive life and his dedication as well as his contribution to the profession will always be admired. He will be greatly missed.” – Dr Reena Wadia