SGU Joins in the Worldwide Attack on Diabetes: Love the Feet You Walk On

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Grenada’s neighborhoods this Wednesday were filled with the odd sight of reclining people, eyes closed, being poked in the feet by friends and family.  It may have seemed that Grenada was suffering from a mass hysteria, but in fact, Grenada was joining the world’s countries in observing World Diabetes Day on November 14, 2012.

St. George’s University’s Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine (DPHPM), the Public Health Students Association (PHSA) and the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF) came together with Grenada’s Ministry of Health to promote a program to raise awareness of diabetes and its effects, and to help diabetes sufferers avoid serious complications of the disease.

The public health students, through, PHSA, were dedicated to the success of this effort.   Branding this effort, Touch Toe Test: Love the Feet you Walk On,  they  created a three-minute public service announcement describing and demonstrating the Touch Toe Test  – a simple examination that can be performed by just about anyone to help diabetes sufferers detect loss of sensitivity in their feet.   The outreach initiative centered on promoting the Touch Toe Test via television and radio as well as an online video, potentially reaching thousands of Grenadians, among whom diabetes continues to be a serious problem as it is the world over.

Jenna Nakagawa, a member of PHSA, explained that with loss of sensitivity in the feet, cuts or abrasions may go undetected and become infected, leading to further complications including amputations in serious cases.

To conduct the test, the patient must sit with feet elevated and eyes closed while someone lightly and randomly touches each toe; the patient then indicates whether he/she has felt each touch. If loss of sensitivity is detected, the patient is advised to see a health care provider.

This amazingly simple – and absolutely free – medical test has been shown in a UK study to reduce the instance of reulceration by 60% and the instance of amputation by 85%. Love the Feet You Walk On. Tickle those toes.

Leonardo Da Vinci –How a 15th Century Artist predicted 21st Century Radiology

Linking the disciplines of art and anatomy at an intriguing lecture on October 18th, Dr. Abrahams – part time anatomy faculty at St. George’s University – described the ingenious of Italian artist, Leonardo Da Vinci who accurately depicted human anatomy through his drawings.  “These pictures are not just extremely amazing art and artistically beautiful, but they are an amazing record of an anatomy text book of the human body, produced approximately forty years before the first anatomy text book of the renaissance. So he predated even the first people that ever produced a decent anatomy book, and yet they were never published and remained in hiding for nearly 300 years, until the 1700’s.”

According to Dr. Abrahams, the concept of Magnetic Resonance (MR) and Computerized Tomography (CT) scans in the 21st century is not a new phenomenon, but was illustrated in the drawings by Leonardo Da Vinci. “Amazingly in his anatomical descriptions of the body, he foresaw the idea of slicing through the body and actually looking at it from all directions and angles.” This was graphically illustrated during the lecture via a video presentation of Leonardo’s pictures, and what modern medicine can now do, five hundred years later.

Dr. Abrahams attributed Leonardo’s ability to derive such an accurate replica of the human body due to a combination of unique skill sets. He stated, “Leonardo dissected between twenty and thirty bodies himself, like any professor of anatomy would in the modern era. But he then had the ability to draw what he saw very accurately and more excitingly than that, he was able to use his knowledge of mechanics and other aspects of engineering to determine how the body worked. So he had the combination of artistic, scientific and engineering knowledge which enabled him to put it all together and understand it.” Dr. Abrahams attests that it is the homogeneous combination of both the artist and the scientist that makes his approach so unique.

Earlier this year, a similar lecture was given by Dr. Abrahams at the Queens Gallery in Buckingham Palace England, to a number of scientists, artists, medical practitioners and students in attendance. An upcoming lecture will also be given at Northumbria University and another is being planned in Grenada in 2013.

Dr. Abrahams  a practitioner is also currently a Professor of Clinical Anatomy at Warwick Medical School, England. He has been a visiting professor and part-time faculty with St. George’s University since 1993.  For more on Leonardo Da Vinci and his exceptional work ‘brought to life’, persons can visit the App Store.

Brittany King, DVM ’10, St. George’s University, Raises Money Swimming the 21-Mile English Channel

news brittany kingBrittany King, SGUSVM ’10, is no stranger to pushing herself to the limit. She’s run five marathons, completed an Ironman triathlon, and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, all before, during, or after successfully navigating her way through veterinary school. However, this veterinarian at Banfield Pet Hospital in Cypress, TX, is taking on the stiffest athletic challenge of her life to date – swimming the English Channel.

It’s a 21-mile stretch that approximately 1,400 individuals have conquered since Matthew Webb first accomplished the feat in 1875. More than twice as many people have climbed Mount Everest. Dr. King’s turn comes this month; if not Friday, she’ll set off from Dover Harbor in England next week. Destination: Cape Nes Griz, France.

“It’s just you and your body,” Dr. King said. “I have never done one single activity for that amount of time. If the tide’s wrong, you can be washed six miles south and swim much more than 22 miles. There are so many variable factors. I’m praying for the best. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I’ve put in the effort and the training.”

King is raising money for two Banfield Charitable Trust organizations – Pet Peace of Mind and HOPE Funds – which allow for the treatment of patients whose owners are unable to finance their care. It has already been put to good use. In the spring, a dog broke both his femurs after being hit by a car, and Dr. King was able to perform two surgeries, estimated to cost $1,600, for free. According to Dr. King, the canine would have been euthanized otherwise.

“She came in three weeks ago and came running to the back,” Dr. King said. “It was pretty satisfying.”

Dr. King has practiced with Banfield Pet Hospital since graduating from SGU in 2010, performing everything from spays and neuters to orthopedic surgeries. She speaks glowingly about her stint in Grenada, from the University’s caliber of education, its faculty, the off-campus experience, and everything in between.

“SGU is the best thing that ever happened to me,” Dr. King said. “The professors are incredible and so supportive, and it doesn’t matter what your dreams are – SGU supports them. SGU set me up for life. I went to Grenada and learned what’s important in life – what to value and what not to value. It’s a magical place. It changes your soul. SGU changed my soul and I’m more motivated with everything in life.”

With a busy schedule, finding time to train for the Channel has been a challenge in itself. Between early-morning and evening sessions, she estimates that she swims 25,000-30,000 meters and runs 30-40 miles per week. The temperature of the Channel expects to be around 55 degrees, conditions difficult to replicate in the Lone Star State.

Adele Duckworth (right), a registered nurse from Barn Lodge Veterinary Hospital in the UK, visited Osseo Animal Hospital in Osseo, MN, operated by Dr. Heather Douglas, SGUSOM '06, SGUMBA '11, as part of a unique exchange program.
Brittany King, SGUSVM ’10, and her Channel Swimming Association boat captain, Paul, are all smiles before the big swim.

Swimming the Channel is a daunting task, but King has a proven track record of setting the bar high and completing her mission. She was a member of the 2002 national championship swimming and diving team at Auburn University and also swam at Texas A&M University – her forte, however, was the 50-meter freestyle sprint. Out of the water, she has completed an Ironman triathlon in Idaho (2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run) in 2007, and while doing a Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF) research project in Tanzania in 2008, she scaled Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa (elevation: 19,341 feet).

In addition to the Channel swim, Dr. King is halfway to her pilot’s license, and she has designs on running two marathons in a 48-hour span in February – first in Peru, then in Antarctica. If successful, it would leave only Africa and Australia on her checklist of continents on which to run a marathon.

Donations to Laps of Love are being accepted on the Banfield Charitable Trust website. Dr. King’s pilot boat, on which her boyfriend will provide support, will update on her progress on her Twitter account.

Being able to provide for the animals for which she cares is all the motivation she needs to complete the journey across the Channel and join an exclusive group of swimmers.

“I’ve loved the career path I’ve been on from the moment I started at St. George’s,” Dr. King said. “I love veterinary medicine and I love that the animals we treat give so much love to their owners on a daily basis. I love being able to give back to them.”

SGU Sport for Health Ambassador Soars to Olympic Gold in 400 Metre

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Kirani James, a 19-year old Grenadian, won the country of Grenada’s first Olympic medal this week in London as the country cheered itself hoarse.  When Kirani soared across the finish line at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, securing Olympic gold in the 400-meter dash, it was the culmination of a long journey for the track and field star. Of all people, James, the first sporting ambassador for St. George’s University’s affiliate, the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation’s (WINDREF) Sport for Health program, recognizes the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle by staying active and eating well.

On Monday, he set off an island-wide celebration by becoming the first Grenadian in history to capture an Olympic medal, doing so in grand fashion. The 19-year-old breezed to victory in the 400-meter final in a time of 43.94 seconds. It wasn’t just his personal best but also the ninth-fastest time ever recorded in the event. James became the first non-US athlete in history to break the 44-second barrier in the 400. In addition, Grenada became the smallest country, by population, to ever have an athlete win gold.

After his win, James immediately disappeared into the arms of dozens of Grenadian fans and proudly waved the Grenadian flag throughout his victory lap in Olympic Stadium. Perhaps no one rejoiced more than his mother, Pamela James, and his father, Dorani Marshall, who is a longtime employee at St. George’s University and a Sport for Health committee member. On Tuesday, James ascended the podium and was officially awarded his gold medal as the National Anthem of Grenada was played for the first time ever at the Olympic Games.

Thousands of residents gathered, including at Cuthbert Peters Park in his hometown of Gouyave, to watch and then celebrate his victory, which highlighted a banner week in Grenada’s athletic history. Ten Grenadians made the trip to the 2012 Games, including James, Rondell Bartholemew, Joel Redhead, Paul Williams, and Kurt Felix in men’s track and field, swimmer Esau Simpson,  Andrea St. Bernard in taekwondo, and Neisha Bernard-Thomas and Janelle Redhead in women’s track and field.

WINDREF launched its Sport for Health campaign in April 2011, collaborating with Grenada’s 22 secondary schools, the Ministries of Sport and Health, and the Grenada National Olympic Committee to guard against chronic disease by leading a healthier lifestyle. Former Olympic gold medalist Sebastian Coe, who chairs the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, pledged his support of the program which seeks to reduce obesity and promote healthy lifestyles through sport while attending the WINDREF House of Lords function in 2011.

St. George’s University Students Form Not-for-Profit to Treat Citizens of Haiti

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Jonathan Phillippe, MD, SGU ’12 was born and raised in Haiti, moving with his family to Florida in 1999 so he could pursue higher education. He earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of South Florida and earlier this year received his Doctor of Medicine from St. George’s University School of Medicine. Despite his success in achieving his dreams in the US, his heart was set on giving back to his home country.

In early 2012, Dr. Philippe and SGU classmate J’Leise Sosa established Sante Haiti, a not-for-profit organization committed to providing primary care for the citizens of the Caribbean nation. For 19 days in May, Sante Haiti operated eight makeshift primary care clinics in and around the capital city of Port au Prince, treating underserved patients with issues ranging from skin infections and gastroenteritis and acid reflux and hypertension. For more severe medical conditions, they prescribed medication or referred the patient to a  specialist.

It was a rewarding experience not only for the patients but for the doctors who provided the service. “It’s in my heart to give back to Haiti,” Dr. Philippe said. “In a sense, this is why I became a doctor.”

“Dealing with global health is second nature because of the international education we received at SGU,” Dr. Sosa added. “For many of the people we saw, it was the first time they had ever seen a doctor. That we can provide the simplest aspect of medical care matters to them, and for us the feeling of satisfaction is immeasurable.”

Having made regular visits to Haiti since 2008, Dr. Philippe joined with Dr. Sosa to found Sante Haiti and formalize their efforts.

“It seemed natural for us to work together,” Dr. Philippe said, commenting on his philanthropic partnership with Dr. Sosa. “We realized that we had similar career goals – to care for the poor and the underserved. We both want to work toward giving more people access to care.”

This year’s clinic treated more than 500 patients in less than three weeks. Among them was a man that Dr. Philippe said had trouble breathing; he had also been coughing up blood and expressed that he had a family history with instances of tuberculosis. After listening to the man’s lungs, Dr. Philippe concluded that he too had the disease and quickly referred him to the general hospital, who issued medication. Providing access to care is chief among Sante Haiti’s objectives in the country, but it also lends a hand financially. Beginning June 1, Sante Haiti paid for the prescriptions and doctor’s visits for 20 people and hopes to be able to increase their funding of such care.

“There are a lot of organizations that can help, but they charge, and most people in Haiti cannot afford to pay for medical care. When they do have money they need to use it for food and other basics,” Dr. Philippe said. “I know people who have never been to a doctor. It’s not because they don’t want to; it’s because they can’t afford it. When they do see a physician and medicine is prescribed, they can’t fill the prescription.”

Dr. Sosa, a 2011 School of Medicine graduate who will begin her residency in OB/GYN at New York Methodist Hospital, diagnosed a 6-year-old boy who, unbeknownst to his family, suffered from severe asthma. The Trinidad and Tobago native, who also suffers from the condition, gave some of her inhalers to the family and immediately scheduled an appointment for the child to follow up with a pediatrician.

“I didn’t even have to touch him; you could see how difficult it was for him to breathe,” said Dr. Sosa. “A simple medication was all that was needed.”

While Drs. Philippe and Sosa are back in the States three nurses will continue screening patients on a weekly basis, and Dr. Hervé Alexandre, an internist in Haiti with whom Sante Haiti worked throughout its stay, will monitor those who receive serious diagnoses. Sante Haiti hopes to purchase a quarter-acre of land, priced at $ 13,000, in the village of Onaville in order to set up a permanent clinic. They also hope to bring SGU students with them for future visits and possibly establish an elective opportunity.

“The experience is very humbling,” said Dr. Philippe, who plans to pursue a career in treating infectious disease. “It reminds us why we became doctors. The happiness in the people, when you can treat them, make them feel better – there’s no money we can receive that can match that feeling.”

To learn more or to get involved, please visit

World Health Organization Selects SGU Public Health Chair To Join Leadership Group

world health organization selects sguph chair leadership group

Dr. Omur Cinar Elci, Professor and Chair of the St. George’s University Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, has been selected to join the World Health Organization (WHO) Network for the period 2012-2018 with the Occupational and Environmental Health Work Plan Priority Leadership Group. He is joined in this global initiative by Dr. Ivan Ivanov of WHO, as well as Dr. Ed Robinson of Health and Safety Laboratories in the United Kingdom. Dr. Elci will spearhead the group with the responsibility for identifying global concerns in occupational and environmental health, especially the adverse health effects of climate change.

“This kind of recognition cannot happen single-handedly; this is a success of our team here in the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine,” Dr. Elci said. “To get recognition for our teamwork is very important to me. This wouldn’t happen if I were standing somewhere alone. It feels really good that we brought this recognition to St. George’s University.”

Dr. Elci’s appointment for this esteemed position is also a positive sign in St. George’s University’s application to establish a WHO Collaborating Center for Occupational and Environmental Health in Grenada. The center would become the first of its kind in the Caribbean region. The application process, which began in the fall of 2009, is at its culminating stage and is pending the final approval from WHO Headquarters.

“That would directly put us in a leadership role in the region,” said Dr. Elci, also citing the University’s presence at March’s International Commission on Occupational Health (ICOH) at Cancun, Mexico. “It would be really significant for SGU and, of course, significant recognition comes with significant demands, which we understand and are ready to face.” ICOH is the world’s leading international scientific society in the field of occupational health and has close working relationships with the WHO, International Labour Organization (ILO), United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and International Social Security Association (ISSA).

Dr. Elci was appointed professor and MPH epidemiology track director at Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine in 2008. The following year, he was named chair of the Department. Dr. Elci and his team’s efforts led the MPH program toward its first US Council on Education for Public Health accreditation granted on July 2012.

Dr. Elci has various responsibilities as adviser and public health expert for national international organizations. Among the accolades he has earned over 25 years in the fields of public health, epidemiology, and occupational health include the 2008 Bullard-Sherwood Research to Practice Award, presented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Through funding from National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the CDC, Dr. Elci has more than 15 years of research and teaching experience. In 2001, the US National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, awarded him a Fogarty post-doctoral fellowship in occupational epidemiology.

100% pass rate for St. George’s graduates entering into RCVS

Students from St George's University, Grenada, attend a ceremony at the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, London, and are admitted to the college. L-R: Francesca Hendey, Matthew Foulkes, Jennifer Roberts. Front: Caroline Dennis, college president Dr Jerry Davies, Ashley Beresford. Wednesday 7/27/2011. Photograph © Andrew McCargow

Students from St George’s University, Grenada, attend a ceremony at the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, London, and are admitted to the college.
L-R: Francesca Hendey, Matthew Foulkes, Jennifer Roberts. Front: Caroline Dennis, college president Dr Jerry Davies, Ashley Beresford. Wednesday 7/27/2011. Photograph © Andrew McCargow

Five graduates from St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine (SGUSVM), in the Caribbean island of Grenada, have passed the Statutory Membership Examination of the UK’s Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).

SGUSVM graduates have traditionally demonstrated impressive pass rates on this rigorous exam, but this year’s 100 percent pass rate by SGU students –compared with the 44 percent pass rate for candidates overall– is an exceptional result for SGU students, and only the second time it has been achieved in the school’s history.

In order to practice veterinary surgery in the UK, all graduates with foreign or Commonwealth qualifications must pass the RCVS examination. The exam consists of two days of written papers, followed by clinical, oral, and practical exams at a UK veterinary medical school. Thirty-five St. George’s graduates have passed into the RCVS since the School’s inception in 1999.

The RCVS sets no quota for this Statutory Membership Examination, meaning those who meet the standards will pass, regardless of the number of candidates sitting the exam.

Austin Kirwan, St. George’s Associate Dean of UK and Ireland Clinical Affairs stated, “St. George’s School of Veterinary Medicine once again produces an excellent set of results with a 100 percent pass rate for the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Statutory Membership Examination for those SGU students who sat the examination.  This is a credit to the school in the quality of education it provides, but also an indication of the caliber of person SGU attracts in its student cohort – outstanding success abounds by thinking beyond.”

Presenting the graduates with a membership certificate at the Ceremony of Admissions at Belgravia House in London, RCVS President Dr. Jerry Davies said, “I was delighted to welcome so many of this year’s successful candidates to the College. Whether newly graduated or long qualified elsewhere, all of those registering today have succeeded in meeting the educational and professional requirements that enable them to call themselves veterinary surgeons and to practise in the UK.”

Published on 7/28/11

St. George’s University School of Medicine Announces Student Research Competition

The Dean of St. George’s University School of Medicine has announced a student research competition which encourages and promotes the research component of St. George’s University’s medical program.  Senior medical students are invited to submit an abstract of research completed during their SGUSOM medical education.  All submissions should be accompanied by any published abstracts, papers, posters or manuscripts used in preparation of the work.

A faculty panel will review the submissions and choose three winners based on originality, scientific merit and level of involvement.   Each of the winning students will receive an all expenses paid trip to Grenada the week of the faculty meeting (March 1-5, 2010), with the opportunity to present and discuss their research with faculty and students on True Blue campus.  This is a unique opportunity to showcase investigative work to the SGU community at large, and will encourage other students in their research endeavors.

Students interested in participating in the competition should submit their work to the Office of the Dean, School of Medicine. A copy should also be sent to Meg Conlon in the Office of Research at

The applications should start with a description of the student’s level of involvement in the research project, when the work was completed, and any other pertinent remarks.  An abstract adhering to the established guidelines must accompany the application.  Students can submit more than one entry.

The deadline for submission is November 15, 2009, and winners will be notified by December 15, 2009.

Guidelines for Abstract Submission

The abstract must be no more than 250 words and formatted as follows:

TITLE: Use bold type.  Do not use abbreviations.

AUTHORS: Begin on a new line two spaces below title.  Use italics.  List initials of first names followed by surnames. Do not use full stops after initials. Insert all degrees you have obtained after your name and the institution in which you obtained the degrees. Degrees, titles and institutional appointments of co-authors should not be listed.  The student who is applying to the competition should underline their name. The order of the authorship should be approved with the principal investigator.

INSTITUTION: Begin on a new line immediately below Authors.  Use italics.  List institute(s) where work originated, city and country.

TEXT: Begin text on a new line 3 lines spaces below and arrange under the following headings:

Objective:   State the main objective/research question//hypothesis of the study.

Design & Methods:  Include information at the start of this section on the ethical approval of the study. Briefly describe the design of the study and how it was conducted, measuring indicating sampling, sample size, procedures, measurements etc.

Results:   Present only the main results (in tabular form if convenient) with an indication of variability (e.g. SD) and precision of comparisons (e.g. 95% confidence intervals) where appropriate.   Promises such as “the results will be discussed” or “other data will be presented” are unacceptable.

Conclusions:   Limit to only those directly supported by the results.

Students from 33 Countries Take Oath at SOM White Coat

news sir kenneth calmanSt. George’s University School of Medicine (SGUSOM) officially welcomed a new class of medical students from 33 countries on August 23, 2009.  Sir Kenneth Calman, Chancellor of the University of Glasgow and valued friend of St. George’s University delivered the Keynote Address.   Dr. Philip Lahrmann, a 1981 SGUSOM graduate and founder and president of Mansfield OB/GYN in Connecticut, served as Master of Ceremonies.

Sir Kenneth Calman’s distinguished career in medicine and medical education afforded this new generation of medical students the opportunity to gain valuable insight and inspiration as they begin their medical careers.  Sir Kenneth addressed the symbolic significance of the White Coat Ceremony and its critical relevance to both their present lives as well as their future endeavors.  A familiar yet central part of the event showcases students swearing a professional oath, promising to act with integrity and in an ethical manner during their training and career in medicine.

Reflecting upon the different directions of his own 40-year career, Sir Kenneth referenced three specific themes throughout his speech: the inherent meaning of being part of the medical profession; the value of medicine; and the crucial importance of life-long learning.

Sir Kenneth expressed that doctors are part of a profession that is innately based on trust and respect.  “These two factors require considerable care and hard work…and can be easily lost,” he said.  A proverb he referenced substantiated this belief.  “Trust comes on foot and goes on horseback.”

The primary role of a doctor, explained Sir Kenneth, is to implement healing not just through diagnosis, but through caring and compassion.  He urged the audience to consider the doctor’s place as a citizen in society as well; and in that capacity his duty to advocate, educate, foster change, lead, and learn to learn.  He explained that little of what he learned in medical school “in factual terms stood the test of time.”   Knowledge bases change as science and medicine progress, and the idea of learning to learn is at “the heart of managing change.”

In closing, our Keynote Speaker asked this group of future physicians to remember that the many facets of a doctor’s purposeful career can be best defined by the words of guidance and compassion they provide a patient.

Born on Christmas Day 1941, Sir Kenneth Calman received his secondary education from the Allan Glen’s School in Glasgow and went on to study at the University of Glasgow.  He entered medical school in 1959 and took two years out during this course to gain an honors degree in biochemistry.  He graduated in medicine (with commendation) in 1967, the recipient of many distinctions and prizes. During the latter part of his undergraduate medical career he developed an interest in dermatology and graduated with a PhD in Dermatology in 1970.

Sir Kenneth Calman moved into the Department of Surgery in Glasgow and proceeded to the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons, as well as writing an MD thesis with honors on organ preservation. His clinical interests at this time were in general surgery, vascular surgery, and transplantation. In 1972, he was the MRC Clinical Research Fellow at the Chester Beatty Research Institute in London.  He returned to Glasgow in 1974 where he served as Professor of Oncology for ten years, developing particular interests in nutrition, chemotherapy, cancer education, counseling, and patient support groups.

In 1984 he became Dean of Postgraduate Medicine and Professor of Postgraduate Medical Education at the University of Glasgow and consultant physician with an interest in palliative care at Victoria Infirmary, Glasgow. During this time he was involved in developing medical education projects and in the supervision of medical education for those in training in the West of Scotland.

In 1989 he was appointed Chief Medical Officer at the Scottish Home and Health Department, and in September 1991 he became Chief Medical Officer in the Department of Health in London. Sir  Kenneth Calman served on the executive board of the World Health Organization, and as its chairman from 1998 to 1999. In addition, he has served as chairman of the European Environment and Health Committee from 1993 to 1998; as Vice Chancellor and Warden at the University of Durham from 1998 to 2007; as a member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics and the Statistics Commission until 2007; and chaired the NHS Genetics Education Steering Group.

Sir Kenneth is currently a member of the Board of the British Library and chairs the National Cancer Research Institute. He is President of the British Medical Association and a member of the Board of Cancer Research UK. He is a fellow of numerous Royal Colleges and Faculties, and in 1979 was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He has written seven books and over 100 scientific papers. His current academic interests are risk, storytelling, ethics, and education. Sir Kenneth has a number of outside interests including the history of medicine, Scottish literature, cartoons, and gardening. His most recent books include A Study of Storytelling, Humour and Learning in Medicine and A History of Medical Education. He lives in Glasgow and the Island of Arran, and is married with three grown children and a large dog.