- Andrew McLennan
- Sunil Sah
- Sean Laverick
- Cristina Frezzini
- Brian Bisase
- Khalid Abdel-Galil
- David Keith (ex officio as Honorary Treasurer)
In July 2007 The Norman Rowe Educational Trust became a sub-committee of the British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and henceforth is known as the Norman Rowe International Educational Foundation (NRIEF). The operational brief of the NRIEF will be to promote an International Educational and Humanitarian mandate aimed at the needs of developing and post conflict countries. In the main, this will be a continuation of the Trust's previous activities.
It is appropriate that as a founder member, the first secretary and a past President of BAOMS, Norman Rowe is linked to the furtherance of the Foundation's international educational and humanitarian activities. These delineate and circumscribe his professional life's work and service to others. He was responsible for guiding the training of almost one hundred senior surgical trainees at six major hospitals in the UK over a 35 year period. It is interesting to note that from that cohort came the first three Presidents of the NRET, namely, Professor Sir Paul Bramley, Mr Ian Heslop and Professor John Sowray. Many hundreds of overseas observers from numerous countries under-pinned their training by attendance at his teaching rounds, clinics, operating sessions and Lectures.
Origins and Objectives
The Norman Rowe Educational Trust was established in 1993 by a small group of Maxillofacial Surgeons, Technologists and Scientists, who held Norman Lester Rowe CBE, in very high esteem. He was not a political or power seeking person, but a powerful influence for the pursuit of high standards in clinical practice, patient care, education and training within the specialty. He was without doubt, a very cultured person, a polymath, a fine surgeon, a brilliant diagnostician, a charismatic teacher and a brave fighter, especially, when he thought matters of principle were being compromised or placed at risk. He was a very wise and modest person, a man of great integrity, always polite and courteous to others, irrespective of their level in society.
It is interesting to note that often during his lifetime when professional problems occurred someone would inevitably ask ‘ have you sought Norman Rowe's opinion on this matter?' Even after his death, colleagues were still known to say ‘if only Uncle was still with us, he would have given us good advice'. Norman Rowe was universally known as "Uncle" an indication of the affection and respect in which he was held by his many professional colleagues. He did not see himself as a sage or seek to be a facilitator yet others did see him in this light and looked to him for advice and guidance. All professions need men and women of vision to guide them in their professional duties. Sadly experience would seem to indicate that people with such skills are rare commodities.
The Founder Members of the NRET, thought it appropriate and fitting to remind others, especially those who had not known Mr. Rowe, of his high ideals and special character traits. These special qualities are reflected by the importance he placed on scholarship, the need for well-structured training and educational pathways (appropriate to the responsibilities of their professional activities), respect for one's fellow man, duty, kindness and compassion for those in need, plus his propensity to elevate and promote others rather than himself. It was felt that a Trust bearing his name that promoted these special qualities and moreover, his example of how to perform ones professional duties in a totally unselfish way, would serve a worthwhile and meaningful purpose. It was also hoped that his generous spirit in helping compromised individuals and countries when passing through difficult times could be perpetuated in some way.
Establishment of the Trust's Working Brief
The Trust was made up of Trustees and managed by Senior Trustees, all of whom, were committed to giving their expertise and time to Trust activities on a totally pro bono basis. This allowed the NRET Council to deploy its limited funds to humanitarian aid programmes and educational activities and not on administrative and Trustee expenses. It is true to say, that members of the Trust offered and carried out their services ‘in an attempt to walk in the footsteps of Norman Rowe', and this will remain the raison d'etre of the Foundation's activities.
The NRET, has over the last decade and a half, established a reputation for being a small group of enthusiasts committed to providing support to those in need and identifying clinical and educational services within head and neck surgery that would appear to have run into difficulties. The Trusts special skill has been its preparedness to investigate and evaluate a variety of problematical situations. Requests for the Trusts involvement in placing such complex issues under review, have ranged; from teachers and students concerned over pending changes in education and training, relating to academic and vocational content; ethical issues in an economically driven healthcare system; the implications of being a whistle blower; the legal ramifications for the technologist taking on the responsibility of patient management; a cri de coeur from an overseas student finding himself highly academically qualified after four years of study but inadequately trained and unemployable; little or no provision of basic education and training relating to the management of oro-facial cancer in some developing nations; the needs of post conflict Iraq, where medical and surgical staff have been forced to function in a vacuum for over twenty years and in consequence lack the necessary knowledge of modern concepts of head and neck cancer management: hospitals in Iraq having to contend with a dearth of medical equipment and supplies, medication and an acute shortage of medical text books and journals. The above records some of the challenging issues reported to the Trust, that it has been possible to address and to varying degrees, bring an element of improvement.
Having formed the Norman Rowe Educational Trust, the Founder Members had to decide on a modus operandi and how best, to achieve it's educational and humanitarian objectives. It is however, important to point out that the Senior Trustees were resolved that it was not their intention to elevate Norman Rowe as an iconic figure but rather to promote the philosophical and the special character traits he displayed and practiced throughout his professional career. With this brief in mind, the Senior Trustees sought and to advocate the following ideals and objectives: the giving of unfailing service to those in need and distress; to aim for high standards of patient treatment; to always apply sound and ethical principles in ones professional duties; to temper adversity and suffering with understanding and compassion; to promote the concept and practice of freely sharing clinical and scientific knowledge, and to protect and maintain appropriate professional standards. Hand in hand with the foregoing, the Trustees also took on the mandate to encourage and importantly, to actively facilitate close collaboration and discussion between clinicians, scientists, engineers and technologists specifically directed at advancing medical, surgical and dental treatment modalities and patient care generally.
Whilst the Senior Trustees were from the onset eager to endorse the adoption and implementation of these philosophical and humanitarian values, as exhibited by Norman Rowe, there was also a strong desire to deploy the Trust's influence in utilitarian ways. In other words, to foster and initiate sponsored activities that had a discernable educational, humanitarian, therapeutic, functional, altruistic aspiration or purpose. The Trusts objectives were and continue as the Foundation:
- The propagation of clinical and scientific information to developing and post conflict countries.
- Provision of humanitarian aid in the presence of adversity to developing and post conflict countries.
- Address problematical issues with a view to finding equitable solutions.
- Recognise and reward outstanding signal service and achievement.
Missions Accomplished since 1993
- Organisation and the promotion of 358 separate lectures.
- Financial sponsorship of 51 UK speakers to participate in NRET programmes held in other Countries. i.e. travel and accommodation.
- Organisation of five fact finding meetings involving Trust officers and members of other bodies.
- Organisation of three discussion meetings involving Trust members and clinical and scientific colleagues.
- Organisation of fifteen teaching workshops.
- Organisation of four conferences.
- Organisation of two symposia.
- 8) Organisation of six seminars.
- Organisation of two international congresses in Jordan and in Pakistan.
- Financial sponsorship of fifty-five overseas speakers and trainees to travel to other countries.
- Sponsorship of 729 units of board and accommodation for overseas delegates and UK speakers in this country and abroad.
- Organisation of two festschrift meetings.
- Organisation of twelve musical recitals.
- Presentation of six travel scholarships and four awards for outstanding merit given to clinical and technical trainees.
- Financial support given to two university research activities in bio-medical engineering.
- Financial support given to four charitable activities.
- Sponsorship of an Annual Norman Rowe Lecture on Maxillo-facial Prosthetics and Technology at the Manchester Metropolitan University for a five-year period.
- Establishment of the NRET Medical and Humanitarian Aid for Iraqi Programme Appeal. As of the 1st April 2008 Medical Equipment and Supplies with an estimated value of £950,000 have been dispatched to Iraq, consisted of 285 pallets weighing ninety tons. Carried out under the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Noor.
- Establishment of the NRET Medical Text Book Appeal for Iraq. Nine tons of Medical Books and Journals with an estimated value of £260,000 have been donated to Iraq for distribution to universities and specialist hospitals. Carried out under the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Noor.
Acting as The Norman Rowe International Educational Foundation, a subcommittee of BAOMS, it is our intention to continue with this work. Current projects include a proposal to provide an educational programme in Sri Lanka covering skull base surgery and trauma, assistance in the establishment of maxillofacial training in Cambodia and the financial sponsorship of a maxillofacial technologist following an MSc programme. We would be very happy to hear from any colleagues who wish to volunteer to contribute to any of these projects. We would also be grateful for any financial assistance from any source. We rely entirely on charitable donations for the funding of our activities.