Sir David Skegg is an epidemiologist and public health physician. After training in medicine in New Zealand, he was a Rhodes scholar and then a lecturer in epidemiology at the University of Oxford. At the age of 32 he returned to the Chair of Preventive and Social Medicine at the University of Otago. From 2004 to 2011, he was the Vice-Chancellor of the University. Professor Skegg’s research has been mainly on cancer causes and control, contraceptive and drug safety, and reproductive health. He has chaired many government bodies, including the Health Research Council, the Public Health Commission, and the Science Board. He was also the President of the Royal Society Te Apārangi, which is the national academy for science, technology and the humanities. For more than three decades, he has been an adviser to the World Health Organization in Geneva.