Kenneth MacLeod, 1963-2009

August 20, 2009

Kenneth MacLeod, an authority on diabetes who was closely involved in the creation of the Peninsula Medical School, has died.

He was born on 17 February 1963 in Falkirk, Scotland, and received his early education in Stenhousemuir before proceeding to the University of Aberdeen.

After a prize-winning undergraduate career, he continued to work in the Aberdeen area as a doctor, but soon combined clinical work with university teaching and research, an approach he would follow for the rest of his life. He remained passionate about medical education and the need for traditional diagnostic skills to sit alongside technological innovation.

A move to the Scottish capital saw Dr MacLeod develop his expertise in diabetes as a researcher at the University of Edinburgh, before moving back to hospital-based medicine.

He produced more than 100 papers, many devoted to the treatment of diabetics and the challenges of gauging the precise levels of insulin required for treatment.

Last year, he was able to demonstrate that, partly as a result of his own research, diabetic drivers are now no more of a threat to road safety than other drivers.

In 1994, Dr MacLeod moved south to take up the post of senior registrar at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust. Two years later, he was appointed consultant physician, with a special interest in thyroid and pituitary diseases as well as diabetes, and also took on the role of senior lecturer - later reader - in medicine at the University of Exeter.

By this stage, plans were already afoot for the new Peninsula Medical School, established as a partnership between the universities of Exeter and Plymouth and the NHS in Devon and Cornwall in 2000. Dr MacLeod played a pivotal role in establishing its clinical teaching and pioneering patient-centred undergraduate curriculum.

He was appointed director of clinical studies at Peninsula in 2004 and associate dean in 2005.

Brian Kirby, emeritus professor of medicine at Exeter, remembers a man of deep religious faith who was "exceptional for the range of things he did".

"He was an inspirational teacher, supervised a major team of researchers and still kept his feet on the ground as a committed clinician, working in outpatient clinics and on call one day a fortnight," he said.

"As an administrator, he would listen to others, decide what to do and then carry it through with a light but firm touch."

Dr MacLeod died of a congenital heart condition on 11 July and is survived by his wife Stephanie and three children.

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