Dr. Brian Wallace Payton (1930- ), physician, was born on 13 February 1930 in East Ham, East London, England, the younger of two sons of Frank Payton, a manager in a London match company, and Jenny (Shambrook) Payton, a shorthand typist. The family moved to Illford, Essex (a part of greater London), when Dr. Payton was one year old. Payton attended school at the Illford County High School, a classical grammar school for students 17 or 18 years of age. On 16 February 1956, Payton married Krista Heidecker, a nurse he met at a British military hospital while serving in the British Army in Germany. Krista Heidecker was born in Magdeberg, East Germany, and she and Dr. Payton have two sons born in 1960 and 1963.
Dr. Payton was nine years old when WWII broke out. As a result, his grammar school was evacuated from London and he was sent to live with a family in South Wales. The father of his host family was a signal-man with the Great Western Railway and a keen first-aider. Payton became interested in first-aid and while there he joined the St. John Ambulance Cadets. When Payton turned 18, he was called into the British Army and became a lab technician in the Royal Army Medical Corps. He was sent to Germany and this is where he met his future wife, Krista. Dr. Payton decided to enter medical school and worked towards this goal while still in the British Army. From 1949-1950 he was a Pathology Laboratory Technician, Royal Army Medical Corps., NCO i/c Pathology Laboratory, British Military Hospital, Wuppertal, Germany. Then 1950-1951, Dr. Payton was a Pathology Laboratory Technician at the Queen Mary Hospital, Stratford, London, England.
Next, in 1951, Dr. Payton was accepted into Charing Cross Medical School at the University of London. He graduated from there in 1957 with his M.B., B.S., (the final medical qualifying examination in the UK, and equivalent to the North American M.D.). Dr. Payton performed Housejobs (internships) in surgery and Medicine at the Harrow Hospital and the Hackney Hospital, London, 1957-1958. He then became a Junior Lecturer in Pharmacology at Medical College of St. Bartholomew Hospital, London, England, 1959-1965.
Dr. Payton graduated with a PhD. in Pharmacology from the University of London in 1965. In that year Dr. Payton moved to New Jersey, USA where he took a position at Columbia University in New York working in the Physiology lab of the Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. Next, from 1965 to 1967, Dr. Payton was Visiting Assistant Professor in Physiology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University. He then moved with a National Institutes of Health Research Fellowship in Behavioral Science in the Department of Anatomy, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University, New York, 1967-1969.
Dr. Payton came to St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada in 1969, where he has stayed for the remainder of his career. He held the position of Associate Professor of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University of Newfoundland, until 1977. During this period, in 1973 he took on the role of Director of Medical Audiovisual Services (MAVS) also within the Faculty of Medicine. In 1977, Dr. Payton became Professor of Physiology, a position which he held until 1995. In 1984, he also became Associate in the History of Medicine Group. In 1995, Dr. Payton received a retired full-time appointment and a part-time appointment as Professor of Surgery at Memorial University.
Dr. Payton has served on many committees at Memorial University, such as: Chair, Student Affairs Committee, 1969-1971; Member, Marine Sciences Research Laboratories Advisory Committee, 1969-1973; Member, Faculty Constitution Committee, 1970-1972; Member, 2nd Year Neurosciences Committee, 1970-1986 (Chair, 1982-1986); Member, Educational Television Advisory Committee, 1973-1985; Member, Faculty of Medicine Telemedicine Committee, 1980-1990; Chair, Physiology Resource Group, 1980-1981; Acting Chair of History of Medicine, 1987-1988; and Laboratory Coordinator for 1st Year Introductory Physiology Course, 1987-1994.
Dr. Payton was a member of several societies over the years, such as: the Biological Section of the Institute of Mechanical and Electrical Engineers (UK); the Examination Board of the British Optical Association; Health Sciences Communications Association (U.S.A.); Carter Member of the Association of Bio-Communications Directors (U.S.A.); Newfoundland Medical Association; Biophysical Society; the Special Resources Group on Instructional Media, Association of Canadian Medical Colleges; and the Canadian Physiological Society. Dr. Payton is currently a member of the British Pharmacological Society, the Canadian Association for the History of Medicine, the St. John’s History of Medicine Society, and the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC), (and past president).
Over a period of more than four decades, Dr. Payton has published numerous articles for scientific journals and proceedings, as well as for newsletters. He has published several textbooks and monographs. In addition, Dr. Payton has scripted, prepared and produced over thirty media productions, and has assisted in many others.
Dr. Payton currently resides in St. John’s and remains active with his involvement with the Faculty of Medicine. He enjoys photography, satirical cartooning, essay writing, and book binding. Dr. Payton also puts his hands to work building models, ships, dollhouses and miniatures.
Owing to his interests in medical education, the history of medicine and his skills as an illustrator and a craft bookbinder, Dr. Payton produced four works satirising some contemporary methods of medical educational literature. Claiming them to be previously unknown 17th and 18th century publications discovered in Newfoundland, these four books included a short programmed text version of William Harvey’s De Motu Cordis; a poetical guide, A Fabricated Alphabet, for aspiring medical students using the alphabetical woodcuts in the Fabrica of Vesalius; a collection of 46 illustrations in the style of woodcuts to accompany John Woodall’s otherwise unillustrated chapter on amputation as in The Surgions Mate; and a collection of multiple choice questions using text and illustrations from a variety of early medical works. Initially presented as a lecture in 1980 entitled The Influence of Tristram Schmuk on Colonial Medical Education, selected passages from these works also appeared as a poster display.