In January we were honored to welcome long serving Ambassador, Dr Hemani Modasia-Shah GP, to the Board of Trustees. We also welcomed Ambassador Dr Jaco Nel to the Scar Free Research Council. Jaco and Hemani's appointments are part of our commitment to placing people with a lived experience of scarring at the heart of our strategic decision-making process. Hemani and Jaco bring invaluable insight to their roles. In October we were sad to see Trustee and previous Honorary Treasurer, Mr Simon Boadle retire from his role as a member of the Trustees after more than nine years of dedicated service; we are enormously grateful to Simon.
In February we were pleased to announce the completion of the UNITS (Understanding Needs and Interventions for Treatment of Scarring) study, the first study of its kind to assess the psychological impact of an altered appearance as a result of scarring and limb loss sustained during military conflict. The study concluded that Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) would be an appropriate therapeutic approach in this context, adapting existing resources and creating prototypes of new materials that could meet the specific support needs and preferences of serving personnel and veterans with appearance-altering injuries.
In March our Royal Patron, HRH The Countess of Wessex, officially launched our world-leading facial reconstruction research programme at Swansea University, meeting researchers and Ambassadors to learn more about the study. The £2.5m three-year initiative is currently investigating pioneering 3D bioprinting of nose and ear cartilage using human cells, as well as the world’s largest study of how facial scarring impacts mental health.