Professor Parveen Kumar was born in India and qualified in medicine at St Bartholomew's Hospital Medical College in 1966, after completing the intercalated BSc degree. She has spent most of her life working in the NHS in North and East End of London at Barts, the Homerton and the Royal London Hospitals where she still practises clinically as a physician and gastroenterologist, and teaches at Barts and the London, Queen Mary School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of London.
After she qualified, Professor Kumar trained as a gastroenterologist and did her research at Barts under the supervision of Sir Anthony Dawson and Dr Michael Clark. Her major research interest and publications have been in small bowel disorders, particularly coeliac disease. She served as an elected Council member of the British Society of Gastroenterology. Having always been a committed teacher, her interests turned to medical education. She was the academic sub-dean and later Director of Postgraduate medical education for Barts and the London. As her undergraduate years had been spent reading dull medical texts she decided to co-author a new medical text book which was easy and fun to read; this changed the face of medical publishing. Kumar and Clark's Clinical Medicine is now in its sixth edition and is read world-wide. She also co-edits a number of other medical books.
Professor Kumar teaches medical students, trainees, PLAB doctors, refugee doctors and candidates for the MRCP. She is a senior examiner for the MRCP, MBBS and other post-graduate degrees - both at home and abroad. She was appointed as a Non-Executive Director of the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) at it's inception in 1999 and resigned this post in 2002 when she was appointed as the Chairman of the Medicines Commission UK. She had previously been a member of the Commission since 1993 and was also the Vice-Chairman. She has also served as a Non-Executive Director on an acute hospital Trust board for 3 years (1999-2003). In 2006, she was president of the British Medical Association.
Professor Kumar has held several offices at the Royal College of Physicians, including those of Censor, Director of Continuing Professional Development and recently as Academic Vice- President and senior censor. She has served on the academic sub-committee of Modernising Medical careers and was on the London Modernisation board. She has served on many other committees including the Northern Ireland Distinction and Meritorious Awards committee. She is a trustee of the charities, CancerBackup and the Medical College of St Bartholomew's Hospital's Trust.
Professor Kumar was awarded CBE for Services to Medicine in 2000 and was also the first Asian Woman of the Year (Professional) in 1999.
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