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A tutor in surgery at Oxford University's Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences has been awarded the prestigious Colyer Gold Medal from the Royal College of Surgeons.

Daljit Dhariwal receiving the Colyer Gold Medal

Daljit Dhariwal, also the President for the British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (BAOMS) and a Consultant Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH), won the award alongside Professor Carrie Newlands from the University of Surrey.

The pair were recognised for their "ground-breaking contribution to the profession and wider society", citing their most recent research that highlighted widespread sexual misconduct, including harassment, assault, and rape, within the UK surgical workforce.

The study, published in the British Journal of Surgery, analysed responses from 1,434 participants, over half of whom were women. It found that 63.3% of women and 23.7% of men experienced sexual harassment from colleagues in the last five years.

Daljit Dhariwal with the prestigious Colyer Gold medalDaljit was a founding member of the Working Party on Sexual Misconduct in Surgery (WPSMS) and continues to work with key stakeholders to improve sexual safety in the workplace.

Daljit, an OUH consultant since 2006, said: "I am proud and humbled to receive this prestigious award for showing leadership in my educational roles and for my work on sexual misconduct in surgery. I continue to work in this space to support effective action for all healthcare staff.

"This is an important issue and this work has been the most impactful of my career thus far. I am pleased that OUH is leading the way in creating safe spaces and educational tools to tackle sexual misconduct, and acknowledge the real heroes are those who speak up about their experiences.

"As a leader, it is an honour and a responsibility to ensure there is a voice for those who have not found theirs yet, and although it is not easy to raise difficult subjects, it is the right thing to do."

Daljit's biography at the award ceremony read: "Her leadership style places a strong emphasis on an inclusive, accountable and patient centred approach.” She has several awards for services to the profession and for innovation in improving services at OUH.

Professor Meghana Pandit, Chief Executive Officer at OUH, said: "Daljit’s important work on highlighting sexual misconduct in surgery, as well as her patient-centred approach to care, is leading to positive change within healthcare.

"The Colyer Gold Medal recognises this excellence and is something we can be proud of as an organisation. On behalf of the Trust, I want to congratulate Daljit on receiving this well-deserved honour."

The Colyer Gold Medal is awarded at irregular intervals for 'excellence in oral health care, for service to the faculty, contributions to the profession or wider society through actions or discoveries'.

Media coverage

BBC News - Sexual harassment researchers receive award 

Oxford Mail - Oxford surgeon recognised for sexual harassment research