Lives of the fellows

Ronald Aliston Irvine

b.11 February 1927 d.15 March 1999
OBE(1967) CD(1983) MB ChB Leeds(1952) MRCP(1958) FRCP(1975)

Ronald Irvine combined a career in politics with his medical duties. He was a senior lecturer in medicine at the University of the West Indies and a cabinet minister in the Jamaican Labour government in the eighties.

He was born in Morant Bay, St Thomas, in Jamaica. After being educated in Kingston, he travelled to the UK on a colonial development and welfare scholarship, to study medicine at Leeds University. He graduated with honours in 1952.

Returning to Jamaica he was one of the first house officers appointed to the new University College Hospital of the West Indies. He then joined the Jamaican government medical service, serving in many areas until his return to the UK in 1957. He obtained the MRCP in January 1958 and did postgraduate training at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith Hospital, the Brompton Hospital and the Institute of Cardiology.

On his return home he was appointed a lecturer in medicine at the University of the West Indies and rose to the rank of senior lecturer until his retirement from academic life in 1970. He was a Guggenheim fellow at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York from 1966 to 1967 and was president of the Medical Association of Jamaica from 1968 to 1970

He maintained a private consulting practice and was also medical adviser to two insurance companies. He was an excellent clinician and a superb teacher. He influenced the careers of many who followed in his footsteps.

Always interested in politics, he was a member of the senate in the Parliament of Jamaica between 1963 and 1984. He served as chairman of the Jamaica Labour Party and was a minister without portfolio in the cabinet of Jamaica from 1980 to 1984. In 1984 he was appointed minister of science, technology and the environment.

Honored by her Majesty the Queen with an OBE, he was also recognised by the government of Jamaica with the commander, order of distinction (CD).

The University of the West Indies continued to recognise his clinical acumen and he was on several occasions an external examiner for the MB BS and DM degrees.

His wise counsel will be greatly missed by his colleagues.

Donald Christian

(Volume XI, page 289)

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