Dr. King is a St. Lucian Island Scholar who studied Medicine at the University of the West Indies, Jamaica and Barbados, before pursuing post graduate studies in Scotland, UK.
She is passionate about improving healthcare for all. She understands the importance of early diagnosis (and in the future prevention of rheumatic and other chronic diseases) and she does her best to educate the public as well as health professionals to raise awareness such that we can achieve this.
She understands that patients need to be empowered to take control of their lives with whatever challenges they face, including chronic rheumatological illnesses, and that we all benefit from support to achieve our goals in health and in life.
In 1997 she, along with some St. Lucians, founded the St. Lucia Arthritis and lupus association (SLALA) to provide support, education and motivation for persons with rheumatic disease. This association continues to raise awareness and now runs an empowerment program, The Stanford University Chronic disease self management program, which has been proven to improve self-efficacy, one’s belief that one can make a positive difference to one’s own health. We call the program ‘Viv byen’. She is a volunteer leader herself and conducts workshops at Bay Medical Centre. SLALA has trained Master trainers and leaders ( most of whom are nurses and Community health aides in the Ministry of health) to provide “Viv Byen “all over the island to all St. Lucians, on a voluntary basis.
In 2007 she started The Caribbean association for rheumatology (CAR) along with seven other rheumatologists and a nephrologist from the region. The intention is to have an even greater impact on improving rheumatological health in St. Lucia and the Caribbean.
The first International rheumatology meeting was held in St. Lucia in 2008 with collaboration amongst CAR, SLALA, The St. Lucia Medical and dental association (SLMDA) and UWI.
She is the Founding and current president of CAR and is working with the organisation on
- Regional guidelines for shared care for patients with lupus and with rheumatoid arthritis
- How to improve care in Caribbean territories with no rheumatologist. There will be speakers from Canada, Scotland and the US and a workshop dedicated to this at CAR’s annual scientific meeting in St. Lucia in May 2018
- How to improve access to more expensive targeted therapies when our patients need- i.e when we do not diagnose early enough, or patients are not empowered or cannot afford to adhere to proper management, or have very severe disease
Dr. King encourages the multidisciplinary, patient-centred approach to care and she shares care with all partners in an attempt to achieve the best outcome for patients.
At Bay Medical Centre, she has been working with Dr. Cleopatra Altenor for over ten years, and together they endeavour to respond to patients’ needs quickly. A rheumatology patient will be given an appointment to Bay Medical Centre within one week and sooner if warranted. New patients are given a one hour consultation, returns 30 minutes. Patients may self-refer or be referred by anyone. She readily gives advice to junior doctors, nurses or anyone who asks.
Dr. King believes in “shared care” with the patient’s primary physician, public or private and she gives the patient written information on their medications including monitoring information for the primary physician so the doctor may participate in the monitoring of their rheumatological condition. The patient is also given a monitoring sheet where results including Disease activity scores are written so the patient and any health professional may easily see the progress while on particular medications.
Dr. King provides, through Bay Medical Centre, aids for daily living, physiotherapy services, counselling as well as psychiatric consultations, nutritional counselling, plastic surgery ( visiting specialist), podiatry ( visiting specialist), Tai Chi classes. She refers to specialists of the patient’s choice, whether in- house or elsewhere.
She encourages patients to achieve their potential and has spear headed a collaboration between SLALA and Dr.Nicole Edgecombe, psychotherapist and artist, on a “Soul art” project, aimed at encouraging expression and ‘healing’.