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Biography | Physician, Scientist, Student and Teacher

Educating and supporting people into WHealth

I was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa. I grew up in a beautiful country, surrounded by beautiful people, under a regime that was morally bankrupt. I was educated at the magnificent St John’s College, a private Anglican Church school with a world-class reputation. My formative childhood memories are filled with fun in the classroom, action on the sports fields and recreation on the spectacular beaches of South Africa.

I consider myself truly gifted to have grown up in this idyllic world. I learnt from my teachers and peers, from the abundant natural resources around me, and as an active participant in the liberation of my homeland. I carry with me still today intense gratitude to the country that raised me, blemished only by the persistent guilt experienced by a young white boy and the inappropriate advantage associated with this accident of birth. I am thankful to be the product of an enlightened and liberal family.

More important than all that follows, I am a devoted husband, and a father to four incredible children. I am truly honored to play such an intimate role in the formative journey of these very special human beings! They are the center of my world.

My passion for people and my deep appreciation for the natural sciences led me to study medicine at The University of the Witwatersrand. I truly believe that I was rewarded with one of the best educations in the world. At the time, Wits (the familiar name for the university) was consistently ranked in the top 3 non-US medical institutions in the world. The combination of exceptional international academic standards, and the abundance of illness and disease that surrounded us ensured a training characterized by both theoretical and technical excellence.

I completed my internship (residency) at the former Baragwanath Hospital, the largest hospital in the Southern Hemisphere. Along with my white male peers, I was then conscripted to two years in the military. I was torn between my deep national pride and my firm anti-apartheid stance. I resolved this conflict when I registered as a political objector, refusing to further serve the Apartheid government – an act of principled defiance that left me and my family exposed to substantial peril.

My early professional years were spilt between emergency and family medicine. I spent several years working in the Johannesburg Hospital Trauma Unit, a level 1 Trauma Center, and the only one with this distinction in Southern Africa. This was a violent period in South Africa’s history – with both political and criminal violence ravaging the lives of many innocent people. The emotional cost of this work was immense. After earning my stripes, I transitioned into family medicine. Here I was honored to enjoy the most intimate privileges of physician life and duty – the role of primary caregiver to families and individual patients.

I elected to combine my professional life with a consuming personal athletic passion, and travelled to Ireland to pursue a higher degree in Sports Medicine. At the time, there was no established fellowship, so I journeyed to Trinity College in Dublin to “specialize” with a Masters degree in Sports Medicine and Exercise Science. I returned to my alma mater in South Africa and established The Center for Exercise, Nutrition and Muscle Science. This unit monitored the training of some of South Africa’s most elite athletes, conducted academic research and established higher degree programs in Sports Medicine and Exercise Science.

My involvement in a research program that demonstrated the value of an entirely new approach to the treatment of exercise-induced asthma led me into the world of biotechnology. I have enjoyed both research and business leadership in a fascinating industry that has contributed enormously to the advancement of healthcare in the modern era. I have been fortunate to contribute to several landmark events in healthcare. Most notably, I was part of the team that introduced modern antiretrovirals (HIV/AIDS drugs) into Southern Africa and spearheaded the education of African physicians in the treatment of this devastating disease. Later, I was a leader on a research program that redefined our treatment of hypercholesterolemia, reducing major cardiovascular risk in these vulnerable patients by an astounding 20%. I am honored to have contributed to the wellbeing of millions of patients and families I have never met!

Today I devote myself to my family, and to two major professional avenues. Through BodyWHealth I seek to educate and support people who strive for optimal WHealth. Through Body-Corporate I seek to exploit similarities between human organizational behavior and nature to assist organizations and teams to achieve their goals. I hope that we will meet on this journey!

Education

MBBCh (Medical Degree, MD), University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
MSc in Sports Medicine (post-graduate), Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland 

Professional Affiliations and Licenses

Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA)
General Medical Council (GMC) of the United Kingdom
New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS)
American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) 

Professional History

Resident, Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, Johannesburg
Lieutenant, South African Defense Force (SADF)
Medical Officer, Johannesburg Hospital Trauma Unit
Family Practitioner, Johannesburg, South Africa
Director, Centre for the Study of Exercise, Nutrition and Muscle Science, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Executive Committee, South African Sports Medicine Association (SASMA)
Medical Advisor, National Olympic Committee of South Africa (NOCSA)
Medical Committee Member, United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA)
Medical Advisor, South African Rowing Federation
Medical Advisor, South African Canoeing Federation
Medical Advisor, South African Swimming Federation
Medical Advisor, South African Field Hockey Federation
Marketing Director, Merck and Co.
Senior Medical Director, Pfizer Inc.
VP Clinical Development, Reliant Pharmaceuticals
President and CEO, WellGen Inc
Executive Director, Merck and Co.
Principal, Aquila Life Science LLC
Chairman, Acasti Pharmaceuticals