Date of Birth: 7th October 1932
HIV: human immunodeficiency virus; the virus that can cause breakdown of the human body’s natural defense system and lead to AIDS.
METABOLISM: the chemical changes in a body that break down substances for growth and energy
SANITATION: conditions affecting cleanliness and protection against infection
MALNUTRITION: a condition resulting from the lack of foods needed for health
Caribbean Icons in STI Volume 1
Sir George Alleyne is a distinguished Barbadian whose contributions to Caribbean medicine are punctuated with many “firsts”. He was the first Caribbean director of the Pan American Health Organisation and the first graduate of the University of the West Indies (UWI) to hold the title of Chancellor.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II knighted him in 1990 and in 2001 he received the Order of the Caribbean Community. After retirement, Sir George headed a special team of the Caribbean Health Task Force to combat HIV in the region.
George Alleyne was born on October 7th 1932 in St. Philip, Barbados. He attended Holy Trinity Boy’s School and Harrison’s College. He received an island scholarship in 1951 to study medicine at the University College of the West Indies at Mona, Jamaica.
He graduated in 1957 as a god medalist with the Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery degrees and did his internship at the Old General Hospital, Barbados. He gained his doctorate in internal medicine at the University of London in 1965. He then began lecturing at UWI, Cave Hill and conducted research on malnutrition at the Tropical Metabolism Research Unit, Jamaica.
After a decade of extensive original research producing several scientific papers, he was appointed Professor of Medicine at age 40. Four years later he was promoted to the Chair of the Department of Medicine- the first UWI graduate to achieve this distinction.
His greatest joy was teaching young persons and he feveloped a formal postgraduate programme encouraging medical research. From 1981 to 1990, he worked at the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) and became its Director in 1995. He served on several international committees including the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee of the World Health Organisation Tropical Research Programme and the Institute of Medicine Committee on Scientific Investigation in Developing Countries.
Among the many awards he has received, are the Pelican Award from UWI and the Centenary Medal in Jamaica. He holds several honorary academic awards and in 2003, became the UWI Chancellor.
Sir George Alleyne has served the people of the Caribbean for over four decades. His motivation for success is simple,”hard work and discipline”. He has lived by the words of one his mentors who advised:”Do not make plans, do what you have to do and do it well, giving it your best and everything will be OK.”