The South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC)’s Director of the Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Research Unit (ATODRU), Professor Charles Parry, has been elected Member of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf). Together with the other newly elected members, he was inaugurated (in absentia) at the ASSAf Awards Ceremony held on Wednesday, 9 October 2019 at The Capital Hotel, Pretoria.
Officially launched in 1996 by the former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, ASAAf is an official national science academy that represents the country in the international community of science.
Parry, a B1 National Research Foundation (NRF) - rated scientist, was elected for his significant contribution and achievement in the advancement and application of science both nationally and internationally. His more than twenty-five years of experience in substance abuse epidemiology and policy analysis, has seen him advise the provincial and national governments on a variety of issues related to alcohol and drug policy.
Speaking about this, Parry said although he couldn’t attend the inauguration because he was hosting international visitors from United States of America (USA), this is an honour for him and for rest of the ATODRU team. He added that he is looking forward to engaging with other scientists outside of the health field. “In fact, it is increasingly clear to me that addressing many health issues involves implementing changes in other sectors, so hopefully there will be opportunities for having such conversations and perhaps get involved in cross-disciplinary science,” he said.
SAMRC’s President and CEO, Prof Glenda Gray who is also Member of ASSAf and Parry’s principal nominator, welcomed the news and congratulated him saying that he will be an asset to the academy. “I am delighted to congratulate Prof Parry on his election to the Academy,” said Gray adding that this recognition adds to the outstanding reputation of the SAMRC and indicates its high-quality research.
Other SAMRC scientists who are also Members of the Academy include Profs: Arvin Bhana, Andre Kengne, Jeffrey Mphahlele, Angela Mathee and Charles Wiysonge.
With his notable experience, comes uncountable accolades including among others, winner of the SAMRC Gold Medal (2017) and his reappointment to the WHO Expert Panel on Drug Dependence and Alcohol Problems (till 2022).