Sir Harry Burns graduated in medicine from Glasgow University in 1974. He trained in surgery in Glasgow and became a Consultant Surgeon and in the University Department of Surgery at the Royal Infirmary in Glasgow in 1984. Working with patients in the east end of Glasgow gave him an insight into the complex inter-relationships between social and economic status and illness. In 1994, he became Director of Public Health for Greater Glasgow Health Board, and continued research into the problems of social determinants of health. In 2005, he became Chief Medical Officer for Scotland. In this role, his responsibilities included aspects of public health policy, health protection and sport. In 2011, he was awarded a knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. In April 2014 he became Professor of Global Public Health at Strathclyde University where he continues his interest in understanding how societies create wellness. In 2014, he was also awarded a lifetime achievement award by the Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament for Public Service.