OBE for UWE Bristol appearance research expert

Issue date: 04 January 2016


Professor Nichola Rumsey, Co-Director of the Centre for Appearance Research (CAR) at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol), has been awarded an OBE for her services to people affected by an altered appearance.

Nichola, Professor of Appearance Research at the university, founded CAR in 1992. It has since grown to become the world's largest research group focussing on the role of appearance and body image in people's lives. The research team comprises more than 20 experts who strive to make a difference to the lives of the many millions of people with appearance-related concerns both in the UK and across the world.

The centre works with partners including Changing Faces, a charity for people and families who are living with conditions, marks and scars that affect their appearance.

The biennial Appearance Matters international conference is organised by CAR, bringing together hundreds of researchers, practitioners and interested parties from around the world. The next conference will be held from 28 to 30 June 2016 at The Royal College of Surgeons in London.

Following the completion of her PhD “Psychological Problems Associated with Facial Disfigurement” in 1983, Nichola has built an international reputation for her research in this field and has attracted over £7m in funding to support research on appearance.

She was British Psychological Society Consultant to the Department of Health between 2004 and 2010, is an Honorary Life Member of the South African Burn Society, and an Honorary Life Member of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS).

Her current projects include establishing the psychosocial needs of people who are distressed by their appearance and developing interventions to meet these needs; interventions to promote positive societal attitudes towards diversity in appearance; screening and follow-up of patients seeking cosmetic surgery. She regularly accepts invitations to speak at international meetings and has published widely in the field.

Her specialist research areas include quality of life in people with appearance related concerns; the psychosocial needs of burn injured patients; the provision of care for patients with disfiguring conditions; the psychological consequences of whole face transplantation.

Nichola said, "I am honoured and humbled by this award. In a world ever more preoccupied with appearance, living with disfigurement can present significant challenges. The contributions of the Centre for Appearance Research in addressing the needs of affected people and their families have been achieved by a team of enthusiastic, hard-working and committed researchers over the past 25 years. I feel privileged and proud to have played a part in this team since its inception.

"UWE Bristol has encouraged CAR to grow and flourish since the establishment of the Centre in 1992. The enthusiasm for CAR's work and pride in the Centre's accomplishments have been crucial to its success."

Also included in the 2016 New Year's Honours list were UWE Professor Ron Ritchie and UWE research fellow Claire Doherty.

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