Emeritus Professor Howard Bird

We were sorry to hear today of the death, on 29 January 2021, of Emeritus Professor Howard Bird, former Professor of Pharmacological Rheumatology at the University of Leeds and early medical advisor to EDS UK.

Professor Bird provided significant support to Valerie Burrows, the founder of EDS UK, when she set up the first EDS support group which went on to be the organisation we are today. He attended EDS UK conferences for many years and was instrumental in reporting for the first time the impact of EDS on speech and language through a letter printed in the British Journal of Rheumatology. Professor Bird established and headed a regional EDS clinic at Chapel Allerton Hospital in Leeds for many years and many EDS patients, especially in the north of England, benefited from his care.

On learning of his death, Valerie Burrows said, “I can honestly say that, without Howard, I’m not sure EDS UK would have come to fruition as it was so hard finding a specialist who knew anything about EDS. After I gave my name as a contact in 1985, each time someone with EDS contacted me I asked for the name of their consultant. I then wrote to the consultant asking whether he would advise the Ehlers-Danlos Support Group, which I was trying to set up. Every single one replied that they didn’t know anything about EDS and were working ‘in the dark’ with the patient they had. Finally, I heard about Professor Howard Bird and wrote to him.  Not only did he offer to help but agreed to meet with me in 1989 to discuss the way ahead. He graciously agreed to be on the Medical Advisory Panel and introduced me to Peter Beighton and Rodney Grahame who also agreed to be on the Medical Advisory Panel.

In 1990 we held our first national conference and it was agreed that we needed a patient information book on EDS. Howard was the lead on this and it was published in 1991. Howard then worked with Angela Hunter and myself to produce a video about EDS so that medical professionals could see the different bruising, hypermobility and scars etc in people with EDS. When this needed to be updated to a CD, ten years later, Howard again gave his time and knowledge willingly.”

Our sincere condolences go to Professor Bird’s family and friends. A full obituary is available on the University of Leeds website.

More News Articles

Charity news, patient stories, events, reearch & Ehlers-Danlos in the press