Professor Henry FraserArchitecural Historian / Heritage Consultant
Chairman, Sentinel Committee, Barbados National Trust
Writer, TV Presenter, National Orator & Motivational Speaker
Professor Emertius, Medicine and Clinical Pharmacology.
Immediate Past Dean, Faculty of Medical Sciences.
University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados.


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COMMON SENSE AND EVIDENCE:  Celebrating Forty Years, #246 for Sunday, February 10th, 2008

The School of Clinical Medicine and Research is preparing to “graduate” into a full faculty, admitting first year students to the full five year medical programme (the MBBS) in September.  Meanwhile, it’s celebrating 40 years of medical teaching in Barbados, at the QEH.

For me, it’s been a tremendous privilege and joy not only to have been able to return and give my life’s work to my alma mater, but to share in the pleasure of this year’s celebrations and the challenges of our new course, as we become a full faculty.

We decided that the best way to celebrate such a major event would be to identify 40 people who had made a major contribution to the School. Awardees were nominated by members of the School Board, and senior members of the School “community” with historical memory for the early days of the programme.  They were all invited to put forward up to 40 of those who they felt had contributed most to the School. In fact more than 50 were nominated, so we called them “40 plus”! And indeed, many, many more than 40 people have contributed greatly to the work of the School, so we apologise sincerely for any significant, but accidental omissions of those who may have done just as much in their own quiet, dedicated way, and we acknowledge, praise and thank all those one hundred and forty others who have taught, funded, supported and encouraged.)

And so a splendid University style Awards Ceremony was held at Sherbourne on Wednesday, graced by Chairman of Campus Council, Sir Neville Nicholls, Vice-Chancellor Professor Nigel Harris, and Deputy Principal Professor Leo Moseley.  Leading the list of honorees were the foundation deans and other faculty, and two students from the very first class of ’67 - 68 – Dr. Marjorie Holding-Cobham and Dr. Trevor Golding,

Top of the list was the late Dr. the Honourable Harold McDonald Forde, a passionate cricket and bridge enthusiast, who was the first lecturer in the Department of Medicine at the University Hospital of the West Indies in Jamaica in 1952.  He came home as Consultant Physician at the old General Hospital,  became Medical Superintendant, and then the first Lecturer in Medicine and Associate Dean, when medical teaching was established here in 1967.  He served until 1973, and retired in 1978.  He was then made Barbados High Commissioner – the first doctor in that role… so he might be said to have earned a Triple First!  

Sir Frank Ramsey is Barbados’s well know paediatrician, nutritionist, public health leader, researcher, writer and former Director of the Barbados National Health Service.  Sir Frank forged many new paths in health care in Barbados.  He raised substantial research grants from the Macy Foundation, established the National Nutrition Centre, eliminated infant malnutrition in Barbados and created a team of community nutritionists across the health service.  His other legacies are his book Protein Calorie Malnutrition, and his recent, very readable autobiography.

Professor Emeritus the Honourable ER “Mickey” Walrond trained in medicine and as a surgeon at Guy’s Hospital, London, before joining UWI at Mona as lecturer.  He was appointed Foundation Professor of Surgery for the Eastern Caribbean Medical Scheme here in 1975, Vice Dean from 1976 and Dean until 1992 and again from ‘92 until 2001.  

He’s worn a hundred hats, as a “multi-specialist surgeon”, President of BAMP, President of the Red Cross, Editor of BAMP Bulletin, Chairman of the Medical Council, Chairman of CBC and Chairman of the National Advisory Committee on AIDS … and the list goes on, and on, and on!

Professor Emeritus George Nicholson graduated at the ancient halls of Oxford and trained in nephrology at the Radcliffe.  He established a comprehensive dialysis programme at the University Hospital of the West Indies in 1970, transferred here in 1978, and developed and directed the Dialysis Unit at the QEH.  He served as Vice Dean, and as Dean from 1992 to 96.  His research in sickle cell disease, leptospirosis and lupus has had a significant global impact.

Mr. Cyril Nelson, a Grenadian by birth but Bajan by adoption, trained in Ireland.  He was Foundation Lecturer in Surgery here from 1967 to 1977, before moving into private practice. He was our first thoracic surgeon, and when he left the QEH I was privileged to acquire his enormous desk, which rapidly became covered with mountains of paper!

Dr. Marjorie Holding-Cobham was one of the first six students in the pilot scheme of 1967.  She returned home to Jamaica where she became a Public Health specialist, and after a stint in the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, UWI, at Mona, she returned to the Ministry of Health in Kingston.  She married a Bajan banker, Jeff Cobham, and transmogrified him into a Jamaican!  

Dr. Trevor Golding was another of the famous first six, in the Class of ’68.  He trained in Radiology at Howard University, the alma mater of our first native Governor General, Dr. His Excellency Sir Winston Scott.  His specialty is ultrasonography.  He now lives back home in Jamaica, and we’ve had great pleasure in welcoming him and wife Shirley, and Marjorie and Jeff  back home to Barbados for a few days.

News Flash: The Barbados Horticultural Society will be hosting an “Open Garden” at Golden Grove Great House in St. Philip today, Sunday February 10th at 2 – 6 pm.  Dr. John Webster is the horticultural genius who has transformed a neglected old garden and surrounding pasture lands, in a low rainfall area of North Eastern St. Philip into a magnificent garden – a magical oasis which must be seen to be believed!  The splendidly restored classic great house of great age, restored or embellished circa 1830s, is, of course, the centre piece of this Elysian landscape.

Professor Fraser is Dean of the School of Clinical Medicine and Research.

Henry Fraser Historic Houses Of Barbados Book CoverHistoric Houses of Barbados
Written by Henry Fraser & Ronnie Huges.
Available at all book leading book stores in Barbados.

Henry Fraser Treasures Of Barbados Book CoverTreasures of Barbados
Written by Sir George Alleyne and edited by Henry Fraser.
Available at the UWI Bookshop the publishers.

Henry Fraser Chattle House Book CoverBarbados Chattel Houses
Written by Henry Fraser and Bob Kiss.
Available at all leading book stores.

Henry Fraser A-Z Barbados Book CoverA-Z of Barbados Heritage
Written by Sean Carrington, Henry Fraser, John Gilmore and Addington Forde.
Available at Days Bookstore Barbados and

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