Michael Beaubrun (29th Dec 1924-20th Dec 2002)
Trinidad and Tobago Icons Vol 1
A Grenadian by birth, Michael Beaubrun was born on December 29th 1924. He attended Grenada Boys’ Secondary School and in 1941, won the Grenada Open Island Scholarship. He completed one year of premedical science at McGill University, then pursued his medical degree at Edinburgh University and his postgraduate studies in Psychiatry at Maudsley Hospital, London.
Professor Beaubrun’s career was decorated with achievements. He was the first Professor and Head of Department of Psychiatry at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Jamaica from 1964 to 1974. He also served as President of the World Federation for Mental Health from 1971 to 1975. During his tenure at the UWI, St Augustine from 1976 to 1988, he held the positions of Campus Dean in the Faculty of Medical Sciences, Head of the Department of Medicine and Allied Disciplines, as well as Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry.
His career was not purely academic. He served as an Independent Senator in the first Republican Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago from 1976 to 1981. He was instrumental in the implementation of the new Mental Health Act and the Sectorisation Programme for Community Mental Health in 1975 and 1976 while serving as Principal Medical Officer – Institutions with the Ministry of Health, Trinidad. In 1975, he co-founded and directed the Caribbean Institute of Alcoholism and Other Drug Related Problems. He also functioned as Director of the St Ann’s Hospital.
He received numerous awards for his achievements. These include the Chaconia Medal (Gold) of Trinidad and Tobago and the Edward W. Browning Achievement Award from the International Council on Alcohol and Addictions (1976). He also received the Spirit of the Caribbean Award (1984), the Scroll of Honour of the Trinidad and Tobago Medical Association, a Citation from the American Psychiatric Association, and Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa, from the UWI (1998).
Despite his extensive responsibilities Professor Beaubrun was a family man. He and his wife Stella successfully raised three children who are all high achievers. On December 20th 2002, this icon passed away leaving behind a rich legacy that will live on.