David Picou (Date of Birth: 23rd Mar 1927)
Born on March 23rd, 1927 in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, David Picou attended Tranquillity Boys’ Intermediate School and Queen’s Royal College (QRC). He pursued premedical studies at the Brooklyn Campus of Long Island University, New York, USA, and then obtained his Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBBS) at the University College of the West Indies in Mona, Jamaica in 1955. After an internship at the University College Hospital in Jamaica, he pursued postgraduate studies in paediatrics at the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia, USA from 1957 to 1959.
In 1959, Dr Picou was recruited as a scientific officer at the Tropical Metabolism Research Unit (TMRU) at Mona. There, he headed a team that advanced knowledge on infant malnutrition, producing a manual that was adopted and published in 1981 by the WHO as The treatment and management of severe protein-energy malnutrition.
In 1963, he obtained his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in medicine from the University of London. In 1970, the TMRU was transferred to UWI and Dr Picou was appointed Head and Professor of Experimental Medicine. He was appointed Director of TMRU in 1973, serving for seven years.
Professor Picou served on world committees that dealt with childhood malnutrition, world hunger and research ethics. From 1978 to 1987, he led the Task Force that planned and implemented the Mount Hope Medical Sciences Complex in Trinidad. A dedicated researcher, he has published scores of papers and books, and presented his work at local, regional and international conferences. He was closely associated with the Caribbean Health Research Council from 1960 to 2003 and served as its fi rst Director of Research from 1988 to 2002.
For his outstanding contribution to medical science, Professor Picou has received several awards, including the PAHO/WHO Medal in 1986, the UWI Medical Alumni Award in 1993, the Commonwealth Research Council Award in 1995, the Trinidad and Tobago Medical Association Award in 1998 and Scroll of Honour in 2000, the Sir Philip Sherlock Distinguished Award in 2001, and the Chaconia Medal (Gold) in 2006. He retired in 2002 after nearly 50 years as a doctor and was inducted into QRC’s Hall of Fame in 2006. In 2007, UWI bestowed upon him the title of Professor Emeritus. He has also contributed to the political arena, serving as an Independent Senator several times.