Appointment of Professor Saleigh Adams

13 Jan 2023
photo of prof saleigh adams
13 Jan 2023

Congratulations to Professor Saleigh Adams on his appointment as the inaugural David Davies Chair and Head: Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery from 1 November 2022. The David Davies Chair in Plastics and Reconstructive surgery has been facilitated through the generosity of Dr Des Fernandes and the Enid Muriel Trust. David Davies was a pioneering MBChB (1950) alumnus of the UCT circuit renowned for his teaching and mentorship of registrars. The appointment of this Chair represents a significant milestone in academic Plastic and Reconstructive surgery in South Africa. Prof Saleigh Adams’ appointment to this new role promises a fulfilment of this legacy. I wish him well and look forward to his contribution to building and strengthening this division as well as supporting our Faculty community.

I would like to thank Emeritus Professor Donald Hudson for his contribution and dedicated service during his tenure.

Saleigh Adams is a Professor of Plastic Surgery at the University of Cape Town with 15 years of experience in academic Plastic Surgery. He was the Head of Paediatric Plastic Surgery and the Cleft Unit at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital (RCWMCH). He previously co-headed the flagship Burn Unit at RCWMCH and has recently been the Acting Head of the Division of Plastic, Reconstructive and Maxillofacial Surgery at GSH.

He manages surgical aspects of general adult and paediatric plastic surgery, cleft lip and palate surgery, craniofacial surgery and all aspects of advanced wound care. He has ensured best clinical practice through academic excellence and innovation. Professor Adams has modified his clinical response and teaching to resource constraints via public-private collaboration. The partnerships with NGO’s include Operation Smile, Cleft Friends, the Avela Foundation, Smile train and the Smile Foundation of South Africa, aligning his work with the Nelson Mandela Children’s Foundation.

With a strong academic profile, Professor Adams is a recognised leader on the continent and in the Middle East in his area of expertise, playing a key role via visiting surgeon programs (VSP’s) and outreach surgery, and by establishing the first and only laser scar resurfacing program on the continent. He is a dedicated teacher on the undergraduate and postgraduate platforms, being honoured by Stellenbosch University, as an online lecturer at Amsterdam University and as the President of The Colleges of Medicine of South Africa (CMSA) for Plastic Surgery. He is responsible for standard setting nationally, recently spearheading the conversion of the final examinations to a fully online platform. He is strategically positioned internationally as the Africa representative at the International Confederation of Cleft Lip and Palate and Related Craniofacial Anomalies body.

Professor Adams has been engaged in public advocacy around burn awareness and facial deformities and has been involved in the education and training of doctors and allied health professionals via national workshops and symposia. He has been a keynote speaker at several national and international congresses. His equity lens has extended to recruiting and mentoring of previously disadvantaged professionals in his field both locally and from neighbouring countries. He interacts with the National Department of Health on policy reform regarding advanced wound care.

Professor Adams brings to the Division of Plastic Surgery, a unique combination of academic surgical skill, inclusivity, and a strong public awareness. His vision for the Division is to build a service founded on surgical excellence, innovation, and research with relative economic autonomy. His philosophy has always been to help change children’s lives today and to prepare his registrars with the necessary skills to help patients in the future.