Dundee alumnus, Dr Barry Klaassen awarded with MBE for his life-saving services to overseas healthcare

Published on 6 October 2022

Dr Barry Klaassen’s work to save thousands of lives received recognition in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

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It is always a proud moment for the University of Dundee to learn of alumni achievements and hearing about alumnus Dr Barry Klaassen’s MBE for his impactful and life-saving services to overseas healthcare in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List, was no different.

Barry shares a strong relationship with the University of Dundee as he did not only complete his BSc in Medical Microbiology in 1983 and MBChB in Medicine in 1987 from Dundee, but also was appointed as an Honorary Senior Lecturer in Emergency Medicine at the University. During his illustrious career he was appointed by NHS Tayside as a consultant in Emergency Medicine, acted as the first teaching Sub-Dean at Perth Royal Infirmary and actively participated in teaching emergency medicine within the School of Medicine. Barry worked passionately and relentlessly to give Tayside the status of the best performing major A&E service in Scotland and the UK. 

Barry very much epitomises the University’s values of transforming lives locally and globally. Indeed, he is also the project lead for the Scottish Emergency Medicine – Malawi Project, which, with a £330,000 grant from the Scottish Government between 2010 and 2015, developed the first Adult Emergency and Trauma Centre at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi. This initiative has saved thousands of lives by drastically improving the quality of emergency care delivered in Malawi and therefore, a further grant of over one million pounds was sanctioned by the Scottish Government in 2018-19 to ambitiously develop similar centres in three other central hospitals in Malawi. Although the Covid pandemic has slowed the pace of the project down, it is expected to develop a National Network of Emergency Care soon – which will be a seismic improvement in emergency care in Malawi. 

In 2014 Barry became the Chief Medical Advisor at The British Red Cross, providing clinical advice and support to all the front-line UK and International services. He co-authored the First Aid Manual 11th Edition (British Red Cross) which is the standard setting text for the first-aid industry. He is also a member of the European Resuscitation Council’s first-aid guideline writing group and the Resuscitation Council UK CARe (Community Ambulance Resuscitation) sub-committee. 

In recognition of his indomitable determination and unwavering commitment to develop the Malawi Project, Barry was also awarded the William Rutherford International Award by UK Royal College of Emergency Medicine in 2019 and the IFEM Humanitarian Award by the International Federation of Emergency Medicine (IFEM) in 2021.  

Congratulations to Barry for inspiring the whole world with his vision and passion. 

If you have a success or achievement to share with the alumni team, please do get in touch by emailing,, we would love to hear from you.

Story category Alumni