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Blog: Sims Black Award

2 May 2023

Mr Abdul. H. Sultan tells us about his experience of receiving the 2022 Sims Black Travelling Professorship award.

Last year, I had the great honour of receiving the 2022 Sims Black Travelling Professorship award. Established by Margaret Black and Sir Arthur and Lady Sims to advance obstetrics and gynaecology, the fund now supports organisations outside the British Isles wishing to invite a fellow to develop programmes through lectures, teaching sessions and engagement in research. I was delighted to receive an invitation from the All India Coordinating Committee (AICC) to deliver an ambitious and exciting programme across India.

I left Heathrow in late October with a busy two weeks ahead of me. After arriving at Chennai International, I took a day to recover and prepare before setting off to Jawaharlal Institute in Pondicherry for the first teaching session. After a case presentation by postgraduates, I delivered a lecture on the conservative management of prolapse, which was a great success, with over 70 attendees, including senior registrars and unit heads. We followed up with hands-on training on obstetric anal sphincter injury (OASI) repair using animal tissue, this time with a group of around 40 postgraduates.

Over the next few days, I delivered two further lectures: one on management of post-OASI pregnancy and another on conservative management of prolapse. I then attended the continuing medical education programme for practising O&G doctors jointly organised by the RCOG India South International Representative Committee and the Obstetric Gynaecology Society of South India (OGSSI), before wrapping up the South India leg of the programme with a second workshop on OASI repair at the Ethicon Institute. I first led an Ethicon workshop in 2007, so it was especially gratifying to see local teams now holding these courses at institutes across the country. 

The two-day itinerary in Kolkata was no less eventful. The first day involved a lecture on surgical options in stress urinary incontinence, a discussion of current UK practice and an annual dinner attended by 40 Members and Fellows. On the second, I participated in the Bengal Obstetric & Gynaecological Society Sir Kedarnath Das Memorial Oration, where I discussed mode of delivery after OASI with over 120 postgraduates and faculty members at the RG Kar Medical College.

Now halfway through the programme, I travelled northwest to Delhi where I delivered the Sims Black Lecture on long-term consequences of obstetric anal sphincter injuries, arranged jointly by the RCOG India North IRC and the Association of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Delhi (AOGD). The India North IRC also organised a lecture on the prevention and management of OASI at the VMMC & Safdarjung Hospital, with senior faculty from medical colleges, trainees and postgraduates among the 250 delegates. I finished my stop in North India with another well-attended OASI workshop. During these two weeks, I was able to acquire data from the attendees and will publish two papers on education and training in India, one of which has been accepted in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of India (official journal of the Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India).

The final leg of my journey took me to Mumbai in the west, just in time for the 35th Annual AICC-RCOG Conference, where I delivered a Sims Black Lecture entitled, ‘Unravelling childbirth: What midwives and obstetricians don’t see.’ I also held a masterclass for delegates on perineal trauma and repair, along with faculty from the UK and India. The Conference ran until 6 November, and so, after a jam-packed two weeks travelling across the country, I caught a flight back to Heathrow the next day, with many fascinating ideas and discussions to consider.  

I was deeply honoured to take part in the Sims Black Professorship, which has allowed me to share my experience and knowledge with so many doctors throughout India. I continue to receive Congress abstract submissions and correspondence on clinical matters because of our sessions and the many fruitful conversations they generated. Despite an incredibly busy programme with lots of travel between regions, I was overjoyed by the welcome, enthusiasm and hospitality of the organisers. I would strongly urge any organisations outside the UK and Republic of Ireland to consider applying to this year’s Sims Black Professorship. It provides an excellent and unique opportunity to engage with our College and exchange knowledge and learning.

Mr Abdul. H. Sultan, MB.ChB, MD (Res), Hon FRCPI, FRCOG

2022 Sims Black recipient


To find out more about the Sims Black Travelling Professorship award:



  • Careers and workforce
  • Clinical and research
  • Gynaecology