When Professor Black established the Centre for Rheumatology at The Royal Free Hospital she assembled a multi-professional team to provide a comprehensive specialist service linked closely to research. The Unit maintains close links with the groups of patients it serves - for example the annual family day for patients [adults and children] with Scleroderma, which has been held at the Royal Free Hospital for the many years. Every opportunity is also taken to speak to patient groups both in the UK and abroad.
The programme of research has been developed in an attempt to understand and treat scleroderma and related diseases. At the Royal Free basic and clinical research is integrated, with a strong emphasis on translational research.
The essential research aim is to unravel the genesis of the destructive fibrotic response in Scleroderma, which might also help us understand more common but related diseases such as cirrhosis of the liver and very we and Pulmonary Fibrosis. The unit has become the major one of its kind in Europe and is respected internationally. The distinction of the staff members, the research grants commanded, and research output are testimony to the reputation of the whole unit.
Teaching is also an important part of the Centre. Teaching is to both undergraduates and postgraduates. The programme is consistently voted as one of the best teaching experiences for students in the Royal Free & University College Medical School.
The Centre believes in spreading good practice in the care of patients with Scleroderma and related disorders. They have set up teaching clinics around the United Kingdom and now hold twenty clinics each year.
In addition they organise a bi-annual Research Workshop. This workshop is considered the best of its kind in the world. Professor Black has in the past ten years broadened her role in Health Care. She is the immediate past-President of the Royal College of Physicians and immediate past Chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges. Her current roles include National Director for Health and Work, Chair of the Nuffield Trust and President of the British Lung Foundation.
Professor Dame Carol Black is currently Principal of Newnham College Cambridge, Expert Adviser on Health and Work to the Department of Health and Public Health England, Chairman of the Nuffield Trust and a trustee of the National Portrait Gallery. In November 2011 when National Director for Health and Work she completed as Co-Chair an independent review for the UK Government of sickness absence in Britain, to which the Government has recently responded.