Dr Layla Jader

Elected: 2022

Area(s): Science, Technology, Engineering, Medicine & Mathematics

Specialist Subject(s): Genomics, Public Health

Retired. Formerly Consultant in Public Health Genomics, Public Health Wales

Layla graduated from Baghdad Medical School and commenced her postgraduate studies in UK from 1978 onwards. Her career spanned over 37 years in Welsh NHS and in academia before retiring in 2016. She became a clinical research fellow in cystic fibrosis at the Institute of Medical Genetics culminating in an MD thesis in 1991. She was then trained and qualified in public health medicine and was appointed Clinical Senior Lecturer in Public Health Genetics in Cardiff, the first such post in the country in 1999.  This unique progressive career in Public Health Genomics is based on translating genetic research findings into Public Health programmes and policies.

She led a team that won 3 Golden Helix Awards and she was a runner up for Doctor and Hospital Doctor of the Year Award in Innovation in 2001. This pioneering strategy for antenatal screening programme set standards and influenced programmes in UK.  She also established the Frequency of Inherited Disorders Database and pioneered public health genomics in UK.   She was a founding member of the Society of Genomics Policy and Population Health and became its president 2008-2012. She set up and organised numerous national courses and symposia in genomics over the years for various health professional groups and policy makers.  She also chaired the Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia Professional Advisory Group in Wales.

Realising their implications for Public Health she widely studied epigenetics scientific findings.  She quickly grasped the importance of the trans-generational influence of the wider environmental factors as they interact with the genome thus affecting foetuses and children, influencing their own health and that of their children and grandchildren.  She wrote a report and BMJ paper and campaigned to influence policy makers and advisers to Welsh Government about the findings that highlight the importance of giving top priority to children’s health.

She also published a BMJ paper in 2006 arguing that the NHS should be at arm’s  length from direct government control and should be run by an elected multi-disciplinary body including NHS professionals, MPs/AMs and patient’s representatives.  She received large support from professional organisations and royal colleges and wide press coverage.

Her work was acknowledged through a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Ethnic Minority Welsh Women Achievement Association for her outstanding work in Public Health Genomics in Wales in 2017.

For further information on Layla’s publications, reports and lectures please refer to her website: Drlaylajader.co.uk.