Tue | Dec 6, 2016

Jamaica Psychiatric Association hails Charles Thesiger's memory

Published:Monday | January 12, 2015 | 12:00 AM

The Jamaica Psychiatric Association has hailed as invaluable the contribution of Dr Charles Thesiger to the development of psychiatry in the Caribbean.

Dr Thesiger died in Florida following a stroke on December 27, 2014. He was 79.

"Among the qualities he will be remembered for will be the watertight confidentiality he observed in his professional practice, his generous mentoring of younger colleagues and his unapologetically risqué humour. His absence will be keenly felt for a long time by all associated with him," Dr Frank Knight, a member and past president of the Jamaica Psychiatric Association, said.

Thesiger was born in Trinidad in 1935. He graduated from the UWI School of Medicine, Mona, in 1963 and settled in Jamaica. He was married to Grace Jackson, and they raised two sons and a daughter.

Early in the period of the mid-1960's when postgraduate training in the medical specialties was being undertaken at Mona, Dr Thesiger was the first trainee graduate in the new Department of Psychiatry under Professor Michael Beaubrun. An exchange programme allowed him to broaden his training in Aberdeen, Scotland, where he also secured his postgraduate qualification of DPM, before returning to join the department as lecturer, then senior lecturer.

Thesiger was a founding member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and was later elected a Fellow of the college. His association with the department as a teaching staff member continued during an eleven-year period, in which he did mainly private practice, before returning as head of department in 1984.

Dr Thesiger, a past chairman of the National Council of Drug Abuse, was also instrumental in establishing a psychiatric service at the Kingston Public Hospital, where he worked post retirement, focusing on the training of medical doctors in the management of the mentally ill.

A funeral service for Dr Thesiger will be held this Wednesday at the University Chapel, Mona.