Kathy Fan appointed to KCL chair as UK’s first female professor of OMFS

11 October 2021
2 min read

King’s consultant oral and maxillofacial surgeon (OMFS) Kathy Fan, and British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (BAOMS) council member, has been appointed professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery by King’s College London (KCL). She is the first dually-qualified (medical and dental) female maxillofacial surgeon to be awarded this honour.

Professor Fan said she was thrilled, “The award of my chair is important recognition for my specialty, my work in the NHS, the university, nationally and internationally. But the most significant aspect of my appointment as the first female professor with an FRCS (OMFS) is to show younger OMFS surgeons that everything is possible.

She told OMFS trainees and younger surgeons that diversity in surgery and academia is important: Female surgeons, surgeons of different ethnicities and orientation “You can do it! Do not to let your ambitions be limited by perceptions or prejudice. I believe the principle of ‘if you can see it, you can be it’, is very important. This is the essence behind the BAOMS Wall of Diversity.”

She added that throughout her career she has had the support of her “family, colleagues - and the supportive BAOMS specialty family”.

Congratulating Professor Fan, BAOMS president Austen Smith said, “To become a professor in oral and maxillofacial surgery with dual medical and dental qualification, and an FRCS (OMFS), requires many years of clinical, academic and teaching activity. In the UK, there are less than a dozen professors of OMFS, and until Kathy Fan was awarded her KCL chair, this group was all male.”

He applauded Professor Fan’s commitment as a member of the BAOMS council, adding, “She is dedicated to supporting the doctors undertaking their KCL three-year dentistry programme of medical graduates and the dentists studying medicine, guiding them into specialty training.

“The specialty owes her a debt of gratitude for making KCL a hot-spot for OMFS recruitment and research. That KCL has recognised her excellence by awarding her a Professorship is just fantastic. I want this to be an inspiration to all OMFS trainees of every gender, race and ethnic background,” Austen added.

Modern UK OMFS training requires dental and medical degrees, completing core surgical training and passing the Royal Colleges of Surgeons membership exam. This is followed by at least five years specialty training that culminates in the Fellowship of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons (FRCS OMFS) for entry onto the OMFS specialist list. Academic OMFS surgeons do all of this and complete a higher degree, such as a PhD that requires at least three years of research.

Announcing the KCL 2020-2021 academic promotions, Professor Mike Curtis, executive dean for the Faculty of Dentistry, Oral & Craniofacial Sciences, said, “Kathy’s appointment is very well deserved.”