Dennis Gillings, PhD, Executive Chairman of Quintiles, has been appointed the first world dementia envoy, according to reports on Friday in the UK media. Gillings plans to create a World Dementia Council to stimulate innovation and development of treatment for those with dementia.
The appointment, announced by Prime Minister David Cameron, follows an agreement between the G8 countries at a dementia summit in London in December, noted an article on the BBC news web site.
Gillings founded Quintiles in 1982, which grew out of his consulting activities with the pharmaceutical industry, and he took the company public on NASDAQ in 1994 and led its privatization in 2003. He served for more than 15 years as a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science in May 2001. Also, he was the founding Chairman of the Association of Clinical Research Organizations, a Washington-based trade group formed in 2002.
Speaking for the opposition to the UK Government, Liz Kendall, the UK Labor Party’s shadow minister for care and older people, said she supported the Prime Minister's commitment to dementia research, but warned that more needed to be done to help those struggling with dementia now.
She told the BBC: "£2.7 billion ($4.51 billion) has been cut from council care budgets under this government, hitting the quality of life of hundreds of thousands of people with dementia and their families. The Prime Minister cannot credibly claim to show leadership on dementia unless he tackles poor care standards, like the increasing number of 15-minute home visits which are barely enough time to make a cup of tea, let alone help a frail, elderly person with dementia get up, washed, dressed and fed."