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ICS Hall of Fame - David Rowan

Monday 29 Jun 2020 {{NI.ViewCount}} Views {{NI.ViewCount}} Views

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This week's hall of fame member is David Rowan.

David was a founder member of ICS in 1971 at a time when proportionately there were more physicists, compared to now. On his retirement in 1990 he was made an Honorary Member of ICS.

In the late 1960’s, David had worked as a bioengineer in the Department of Clinical Physics and Bioengineering, Western Regional Hospital Board. Around 1969-70, Eric Glen sought the help of the Department, to explore techniques to investigate the causes of urinary incontinence and the effects of electrical stimulation in its treatment. Previously, David, had worked with Shedden Alexander, a general surgeon in Glasgow, who for a time was interested in treating incontinence by stimulation.

This was the start of a close collaboration with Eric Glen leading to the establishment of the first specialist referral urodynamic service in Scotland at the Southern General Hospital, later to become the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Glasgow.

He was an active member of the ICS, and was elected Membership Secretary in 1975 at the AGM in Glasgow, a post he undertook meticulously without secretarial or other clerical support. In 1985, as the membership numbers significantly increased, members at the AGM agreed to purchase a computer system for membership administration. This was one of the first IBM PC microcomputers any of his colleagues had seen. David had developed software using in-house microcomputers, but was now enabled, without clerical assistance, to provide a comprehensive Membership Directory, a detailed record of subscriptions paid, a library of standardised form letters, a detailed statement of annual expenditure to the auditors, and a continuously updated Membership List for each Chairman to assist in the organisation of subsequent Annual General Meetings. Scrupulous as always, David arrived at work an hour early to fulfil this role outwith his salaried hours. David’s reports during his unbroken record of attending the many AGMs were clear, concise, and detailed.

For many years, David was an active member of the Standardisation Committee.

Shortly after the inauguration of the ICS in 1971, Peter Caldwell arranged for David and Eric to be invited to join a UK Department of Health working party exploring the development of devices for the control of incontinence. In collaboration with Aled Evans and later Doug Small he developed one of the first computerised urodynamic systems. The DISA system had an RS232 output stream of data and allowed graphs and reports to be generated. Then followed programs for a prostate clinic, preanaesthetic assessment, and the Open Access Continence Resource Centre and Helpline for Scotland, using patient operated history taking and management recommendations. For a number of years, he organised the trade exhibition and dealt with the finances for the annual meetings of the Continence Task Force for Scotland. He was also involved with the West of Scotland Home Dialysis Service.

David produced regular bibliographies for ICS covering the years 1961-89, initially in the Incontinence Reporter published by Vitalograph, Buckingham, England, and subsequently in Uro-Lit published by Dantec, Copenhagen (1-9). These were sent to all ICS members, and provided a valued resource.

He produced helpful guidelines on how to improve the quality of lecture slides to be used in ICS meetings, especially if dual projection were being employed. David was meticulous in keeping records, including copies of ICS Meeting Programs, which proved of value in the compiling the ICS History book. There was a lighter side to all this, and Eric comments that “we had many enjoyable experiences participating in numerous meetings in a wide variety of countries. He was an excellent and entertaining travelling companion.” David also revealed unexpected skills on the dance floor at several ICS functions.

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