Date of Birth: 23rd Mar 1927
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David Picou was born on March 23rd 1927 in Port of Spain, Trinidad. He attended Tranquillity Boys’ Intermediate School and Queen’s Royal College. On completing his studies, he taught science for one year at his alma mater. He attended Long Island University in Brooklyn, New York and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree.
Though keen on becoming an architect, Picou honoured his parents’ wishes and pursued medicine at the University College of the West Indies in Mona, Jamaica. He graduated with the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degree (1955) and began an internship in paediatrics. He did his residency at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (1957) and was appointed a research fellow in clinical nutrition (1956). He was also an instructor in paediatrics at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.
In 1959, Picou was recruited by the Tropical Metabolism Research Unit (TMRU), which was set up and funded by the Medical Research Council in England. Here, he made significant contributions to address the problem of child malnutrition. One was the production of a booklet, adopted for use by the WHO and entitled “The treatment and management of severe protein-energy malnutrition”.
He obtained his doctorate in medicine from the University of London (1963) and when the UWI, Mona acquired the TMRU in 1970, he was appointed its Head. In 1973, he was appointed Professor of Experimental Medicine and TMRU’s Director, a post he held for seven years.
Dr. Picou was a member of the Advisory Committee of the World Hunger Programme of the United Nations University, the UNAIDS Ethics Committee in Geneva, and the editorial board of the West Indian Medical Journal. He was the scientific secretary for the Caribbean Health Research Council and its first Director of Research.
He headed the Task Force that developed the Mount Hope Medical Sciences Complex in Trinidad during the period 1978-1987. He is associated with the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre, where he is the current Chairman of the Research Ethics Committee.
For his outstanding contribution to medical sciences in the Caribbean, he has received several awards, including the PAHO/WHO Medal (1986), the Commonwealth Caribbean Medical Research Council Award (1995), and the Sir Philip Sherlock Distinguished Award (2001).