Born in Saskatchewan, Canada, Herman Reid, MD, DVM, MSc, BS was raised some 4,100 miles away on a farm near Georgetown, Guyana.
“Growing up on a farm, it was natural to encounter livestock and poultry diseases. I developed an interest in the comparative aspects of human and animal health and found few biological differences in the pathogeneses and expression of animal and human diseases. I wanted to study how and why similar diseases occur in human and animal populations based on shared infectious agents, nutrition, and the environment. I became fascinated with comparative pathology, as well as public and environmental health.”
An interest in animal and human disease leads to studies of comparative pathology
Eager to pursue his interests, Dr. Reid earned his doctorate in veterinary medicine in 1979 at Tuskegee University in Alabama, the only historically black college with a fully accredited College of Veterinary Medicine that offers the doctoral degree. Years later, he was accepted as an a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Resident / Fellow at the University of Miami (UM) Miller School of Medicine, Florida, to study, perform research, and publish on the pathology of diseases that affect both humans and animals.
“We’re living in a time with increased transmissions of infectious agents from animals to humans, coronaviruses being just one example,” says Dr. Reid. “Our planet is a global village, and it will become more important than ever to study these comparisons, as this is the future of infectious diseases globally. Different strains of coronavirus have infected multiple animal species for decades. Coronaviruses will continue to infect humans also for years to come.”
His additional qualifications include an MD degree from the American International School of Medicine in Guyana, an MSc degree in pathology from the University of London in the United Kingdom, short-term pathology fellowships at Harvard Medical School and the University of Guelph, and a certificate in Medicolegal Investigation of Death (forensic pathology) from the Dade County Medical Examiner’s office in Miami.
Dr. Reid and Ms. Penelope Layne (Registrar – Guyana Cancer Registry) standing next to their poster presentation at the 7th International African-Caribbean Cancer Consortium (AC3) Conference. Kingston, Jamaica, October 11-14, 2019.
A calling toward teaching
Over the last forty years, Dr. Reid has been providing instruction in medical education and researching infectious diseases and cancer in humans and animals. His administrative appointments have included Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Director of the PAHO/WHO Center for Allied Health Training at University of Guyana, and Dean of Students at Saba University School of Medicine.
He has received multiple awards and honors from medical schools for outstanding teaching contributions in the areas of medical histology and pathology, such as the University of Central Florida College of Medicine, Saba University School of Medicine, and the University of Guyana (UG) Medical Students Association. In 2014, he was awarded the Medical Education Research Certificate (MERC) from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).
“My grandfather, parents, and several cousins were and are dedicated teachers, so teaching is
probably in our genes. I find working with international medical students like those at RUSM particularly stimulating because they have a wide range of interesting experiences and backgrounds,” says Dr. Reid.
On why academic support in the early semesters is key
Dr. Reid understands the importance of academic support for students starting at the beginning of their medical education. “Students have different academic and personal issues and often have to adapt to a different cultural environment at school. A support system is key to success in medical school and RUSM excels at providing that to students.”
Dr. Reid joined RUSM earlier this month and will be teaching histology and cell biology for Semesters 1 and 2 in the Medical Sciences curriculum along with a team of instructors. He previously served as professor and head of pathology at Texila American University College of Medicine in Guyana and now lives in Barbados with his wife, Patricia. Dr. Reid appreciates the beauty of the Caribbean and prefers to spend time outdoors whenever possible by gardening, hiking, and bicycling.
“I hope to be able to support and contribute to students’ mastery of the functional relationships in histology with other subjects such as physiology, anatomy, biochemistry, cell
biology, pharmacology, pathology, and clinical medicine, as well as help students to improve proficiency in answering board questions. To be a good histopathologist, one first needs to be a good histologist,” says Dr. Reid. “The best foundation is to understand how the body functions and how diseases happen. Teaching this to students is what excites me most about my role at RUSM.”
Dr. Reid (4th from left) with his wife, their children and their spouses, and two grandchildren. Hamilton, Ontario, August 2021.