Yvonne Carter, 1959-2009

November 5, 2009

A leading medical researcher who battled breast cancer while guiding Warwick Medical School to new heights has died.

Yvonne Carter was born in Liverpool on 16 April 1959, studied medicine at St Mary's Hospital, London, but then returned to her home city for postgraduate training at the Alder Hey Hospital so that she could look after her dying mother.

She was to spend 20 years practising as a GP, but, from the outset of her career, she always sought to combine this with academic research, including work with her husband, paediatrician Michael Bannon, with whom she wrote two books and many papers.

Professor Carter's academic career took off in the early 1990s when she joined Keele University as a research training fellow (1990-92), before moving to become senior clinical lecturer at the University of Birmingham (1992-96).

She then became the UK's youngest professor of general practice and primary care, at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, part of Queen Mary, University of London.

Having being promoted to the directorship of Queen Mary's Institute of Community Health Sciences, Professor Carter moved again to become vice-dean of the Leicester-Warwick Medical School, and then, in late 2003, became dean of Warwick Medical School.

She proved highly successful in leading the school to independence, as was demonstrated most clearly when it was ranked among the UK's top ten medical institutions in its first research assessment exercise submission in 2008.

She strived to secure greater numbers of women in the top ranks of medical education, and took on an additional role as the University of Warwick's pro vice-chancellor for external affairs in 2007.

Her achievements were all the more remarkable given that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer around the time she joined Warwick and faced an increasingly demanding treatment regime. She was reluctantly obliged to retire in July this year.

Among many other honours, Professor Carter received the Confederation of British Industry's First Woman of Science Award in 2006, and followed up an earlier Commander of the Order of the British Empire for health services research with another CBE this year for services to medical education.

Ed Peile, emeritus professor of medical education at Warwick, remembered a woman of "tremendous drive and ability to focus on priorities while keeping her finger on every pulse within an organisation. She also retained to the end a GP's interest in people and what makes them tick."

Professor Carter died of breast cancer on 20 October and is survived by her husband and son.

matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com.

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