Occupational Asthma Reference

McCallum RI, Why I became an occupational physician, Occup Med (Oxford), 2007;57:226,


Known Authors

Robert McCallum, Newcastle University Robert McCallum

If you would like to become a known author and have your picture displayed along with your papers then please get in touch from the contact page. Known authors can choose to receive emails when their papers receive comments.


Pulmonary tuberculosis, as a student, turned me to lung diseases as a specialty, so after house jobs at Guy's Hospital and the Brompton Hospital, and some locum work in the tuberculosis service which was then in decline, I went to Newcastle upon Tyne to a new department of Industrial Health to study pneumoconiosis of coal workers. The Department, which was funded by the Nuffield Foundation and welcomed by local physicians, was innovative. Under the late Richard Browne teaching of undergraduates occupational health, medical statistics, pulmonary physiology; social workers instead of the older lady almoners, and record keeping were introduced so that it has become a major school of medicine.
My post involved research and teaching in occupational medicine to undergraduate medical students, and over the next 25 years, I worked on pneumoconiosis (in conjunction with the Unit at Cardiff), lead poisoning, antimony toxicology, compressed air disease (when the Tyne Tunnels were built) and eventually the long-term effects of diving (especially bone necrosis). Although to my regret, I never took a DIH, I was so involved in the area that I was awarded an MRC Rockefeller Fellowship which took me to Pittsburgh, USA, and was editor of the British Journal of Industrial Medicine for 7 years; president of the SOM, the BOHS and the Section of Occupational Medicine of the RSM; Dean of the Faculty of Occupational Medicine 1984–6; Professor of Occupational Medicine and Hygiene at Newcastle University and civilian adviser to the army from 1980–6 among other tasks. Thus, I came into the specialty by default and out of interest in what I was doing.

At the time occupational disease was not uncommon and the field was a largely clinical one so that an MRCP was an advantage. I sense that the field has changed a good deal during the last few years and occupational disease may not be so important as it was. Since retirement, I have become involved in medical historical studies, particularly in the Scottish alchemists of the 17th century, but I still gave a paper in Heidelberg on antimony toxicity last year

Full Text

Full text of this reference not available

Please Log In or Register to add the full text to this reference


Please sign in or register to add your thoughts.

Oasys and occupational asthma smoke logo