Prof Surujpal Teelucksingh, 53, has that rare attribute in medicine of being gifted in its practice, theory, and teaching. A graduate of the University of the West Indies, he is a skilled clinician, a dedicated and popular teacher, and a prolific and accomplished scientific researcher, with many publications in leading medical journals to his credit.
His contributions to the field of medical science in the region includes research into noncommunicable disease (NCD) (like diabetes and obesity) and the introduction of sociological, rather than pedagogic or prescriptive methods to cause communities to adopt lifestyles that would make them healthier. He specializes in internal medicine, diabetes and endocrinology and is exploring the connection between diabetes and heart disease—an area which although well-known remains poorly understood in medical science. He also chairs a Cabinet-appointed Technical Advisory Committee that reports to the Minister of Health of Trinidad and Tobago on strategies to combat chronic diseases.
Based upon his personal experience he has produced a monograph on Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever and Dengue Shock Syndrome on behalf of PAHO/ World Health Organization to guide treatment of these conditions in the region. He is also the project leader for a regional Inter-American Development Bank project whose mandate is to reduce the growing health threat of NCDs in the Caribbean.
Prof Teelucksingh has also been instrumental in the growth and evolution of the Medical School at Mt Hope in Trinidad. He pioneered and developed the paediatric endocrine service and strengthened a supraregional adult endocrine clinic in the School of Medicine at Mt Hope. He has been highly praised for his ability to attract private sector funds for research purposes, and his focus on the social dimension of disease. In addition to his clinical and scientific work, Prof Teelucksingh is also concerned with training better doctors. He developed and introduced OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination) as the concluding examination method at the UWI’s Faculty of Medical Sciences. The OSCE tests clinical competence in skills such as communication, clinical examination, medical procedures, prescriptions, and data interpretation. He has also led the university in implementing medical examination formats in keeping with internationally accepted standards, and developed a curriculum for Public Education in Diabetes.
Prof Teelucksingh’s work has been widely recognized. He has published in various medical journals including the very prestigious The Lancet, New England Journal of Medicine, Clinical Science, Caribbean Medical Journal, West Indian Medical Journal, and Caribbean Health among others. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh in the UK, and presently serves on the Medical Board of Trinidad & Tobago. Prof Teelucksingh is also the University’s Public Orator.