When it comes to giving back to his Caribbean alma mater, distance has never been an excuse for Canadian-based 1981 University of the West Indies (UWI) graduate, Dr. Upton Allen.
The division head of infectious diseases at the Hospital for Sick Children (HSC) regularly trains the university’s medical students and doctors and was a visiting professor and external examiner for pediatric degree candidates.
Extremely busy in the last few weeks on overseas assignments, Dr. Allen was surprised to learn late last month when he returned to Canada that he would be recognized for his generosity and goodwill with a Vice-Chancellor award at the fourth annual UWI Toronto benefit gala in May.
Allen, whose research interests are in the areas of infections, said the six years he spent at UWI shaped his professional career.
“The UWI really has been key in my training,” said Allen, who graduated with honours in medicine and therapeutics. “For me, it stands out as an institution that teaches exceptional clinical skills and it recognizes that what comes first in the pursuit of a good diagnosis is the ability to accurately record a patient’s history, perform a thorough physical examination and have excellent bedside manners. Those are the things that stuck with me during my medical training and which are still present with me. I have always looked up to the university as an important player in the region and it’s for that reason I value every opportunity to partner with the UWI and to be part of the family.”
Allen and Dr. Victor Blanchette co-chair the Caribbean Paediatric Cancer & Blood Program that was launched last week.
Raised in Port Antonio, Allen is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in Canada and England and a Fellow of the American Academy of Paediatrics.
Arriving in Canada three decades ago to pursue specialized paediatric training that lasted four years at the HSC that’s affiliated to the University of Toronto, he completed his Master’s in clinical epidemiology at McMaster University and spent five years in the department of obstetrics & gynecology and microbiology at Ottawa General Hospital prior to returning to the HSC in 1995.
Dr. Jamal Deen, Nicholas Brathwaite, Brigitte Shim, Doug Orane and Mary Anne Chambers will also be honoured with Vice-Chancellor Awards while the University of Toronto will be presented with the Chancellor Award.
Distinguished medical practitioner and philanthropist, Dr. Budhendranauth Doobay, joins retired world heavyweight boxing champion, Lennox Lewis, as this year’s Luminary Award winners.
A 1965 graduate, the Guyanese-born cardiovascular surgeon is a founding member and chair of the Voice of the Vedas Cultural Sabha, a former president of the India Heritage Foundation and the first South Asian Order of Ontario recipient.
By RON FANFAIR