Dr Tomlin Paul - WONCA North America Five Star Doctor

Dr Tomlin Paul, who lives in Jamaica, but was born in Trinidad, was nominated for the WONCA North America five –star doctor award by Dr Winsome Segree-MacKay. WONCA North America has made the award to Dr Paul who addresses the attributes of a five-star doctor as follows:

* A care provider

For two successive years Dr Paul was one of the top nominees for the Medical Association of Jamaica’s “Good Physician Award”. The award is for a physician who is nominated by his patients for compassionate, high quality care. Along with a colleague, Dr Paul, in 1993, started Health Plus Associates a Medical Centre based in Kingston and over the years has provided care to patients at this facility. His philosophy brings the patient to the centre of the care process and he has labelled his approach “relationship medicine”, writing about it in the Yale Journal of Humanities in Medicine.

In addition to seeing patients at his office he has done home-based care for elderly patients and for a number of years was the physician in charge at Sandhurst Home for Senior Citizens, in Kingston.
For a number of years he was an exemplar and teacher to medical students in primary care medicine in the Department of Community Health and Psychiatry at the University of the West Indies, Jamaica and today remains a part-time lecturer in the graduate programme in Family Medicine in that Department. He has written about his experience with teaching medical students in their final year in the Medical Teacher journal.

He has blended delivery of quality care with serious practice-based enquiry. An example of this is his “review of frequent attenders in clinical practice” published in General Practice online, in 2005.

Dr Paul has been recognised in the public media in Jamaica as an outstanding family physician and educator and in May 2006 was recognised as one of WONCA’s “Global Family Doctors”.

* A decision maker

Dr Paul offers primary medical care to patients in Kingston, Jamaica using the mix of technologies available in that setting. With the economic recession hitting Jamaica which is now one of the world’s highest indebted countries he has the challenge of treating his patients in a cost-effective manner while maintaining high quality care.

He is an advocate of health promotion in medical practice. In 1992 he was appointed a Programme Manager for a Health Promotion project within the University of the West Indies and for five years worked to implement and evaluate programmes in schools and workplaces. In an article published in the West Indian Medical Journal (1998 Dec; 47 Suppl 4:49-52) by Dr Paul and Dr Winsome Segree one of his mentors in family medicine, the issues facing the Caribbean in implementing Health Promotion in the region and measuring its impact were discussed.

In a recent publication, along with his colleague Dr Satnarine Maharaj, he spoke of the ethical issues involved in health care financing (West Indian Med J. 2011 Jul;60(4):498-501).
His perspective has always been one of a commitment to service to patient and community with minimal resource consumption and collaboration with local health services. In 2005, he also published a review on the range of clinical procedures conducted by physicians in his general practice with a view to efficient allocation of resources.

* A communicator

Dr Paul spends a lot of time with his patients encouraging them to set goals for healthy living and actively following up on their progress. He has also delivered a number of talks to groups in churches and organisations on healthy lifestyle including the Bank of Jamaica and appeared on radio and television programmes. During his stint as a member of the Jamaican National Family Planning Board, he was a frequent guest on the television programme “Teen Scene” promoting healthy sexual behaviour among adolescents.

In 2012, he was invited by the Daily Gleaner, one of the national newspapers of Jamaica, to write a series of articles targeting persons fifty years and older. The theme of his current series of articles is “Living longer, Living better”. He has already published 20 of these articles. A sample can be seen here

His communication skills played a big role in his receiving the Guardian Life Premium teaching award in 2006 and later in 2007 the University of the West Indies, Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.

In addition to writing for the public media he has published over 50 papers and abstracts and three book chapters on a range of issues. In addition he has produced a Monograph on Health Promotion which is used by Family Medicine Master’s students at the University of the West Indies, Jamaica.

* A community leader

Dr Paul has had a sound track record of community involvement over his career. Between 1993 and 1997, he was a member of a team working with the Irish Town Citizen’s Association to help in the setting up of a local health centre. He also led a team initiating actions among a group of Parents at Oberlin High School geared at improving parenting and consequently the health of children. He was also a founding member of the Hope Estate Educational Partners (HEEP) a local community-based Non-Governmental Organisation which has continued to promote the development of the Hope Estate community in Kingston. One of the outcomes was the Hope Green area – a community environmental project. He has also been a member of the planning and delivery team for several community-based health fairs organised by churches in Kingston.

He held several leadership positions within the medical school at the University of the West Indies and in the past has served on the Board of the Caribbean College of Family Physicians.

In 2010 he took up a major leadership position as Provost/Dean of a newly developing medical school – Global University, Schools of Medicine and Public Health, which will be based in the Turks and Caicos Islands. To date he has been able to lead a team to achieve Initial Provisional Accreditation for the medical school. He has continued to be heavily involved in the delivery of care to his patients while working on the development of this school.

* A team member,

There is no doubt about Dr Paul’s ability to work as a member of the team and to galvanise the efforts of others towards improving the community and patients’ health. During his tenure with the University of the West Indies, he was involved in several committees a number of which fostered the well-being of trainee physicians. He was successful in his advocacy for the establishment of a post in personal and professional development in the Faculty. He also gave service to agencies such as United Way of Jamaica focussing on community health projects. He has been a member of the Board of McCam’s Child Development Centre, since 2001. He is a founding member of Whole Person Resource Centre which was formed to promote a holistic approach to patient care. In this journey he worked closely with church based groups. He has been a member of several PAHO consultancy teams and currently works as a medical education accreditation consultant with the St.Kitts/Nevis government.

WONCA congratulates Dr Tomlin Paul on his award as WONCA North America region Five-Star doctor.