It is little surprise that among some of the thousands of doctors who have trained at Newcastle University’s medical school over the past 175 years, there are some well known names.
Dr Miriam Stoppard, the acclaimed doctor, television presenter, author and newspaper health writer is perhaps one of the better known medics to have trained in the city.
Born in 1937, Miriam grew up in Fenham – the daughter of strictly Orthodox Jewish parents. Her mother, Jenny Stern worked for the local school dinner service while her father, Stanley worked as a nurse in the City’s hospitals.
Miriam’s parents really wanted her to become a doctor and she gained entrance to the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine in London returning to King’s College Newcastle after 2nd M.B.
Studying at Kings College, Durham (becoming Newcastle University in 1963) Miriam completed her Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree before going on to work at the City’s RVI hospital where she held roles as a house surgeon (1961), a house physician (1962), and Senior House Officer (1962-1963) and then gained her M.D. thesis in 1966.
It is, however, her career as an author and television presenter that helped propel Miriam towards becoming a household name.
In the 1970’s and 1980’s, she became a familiar face on national television. Programmes such as “Don’t Ask Me”, “Baby and Co” and “So You Want to Stop Smoking” gathered a significant following while her ITV programme “Where There’s Life…” clocked up a very respectable peak-time viewing figure in excess of 10 million for eight successive years.
With more than 60 published books translated into 37 different languages, Miriam has sold in excess of 25 million copies worldwide. Her books Conception, Pregnancy and Birth and Complete Baby and Childcare have long been firm favourites with parents of young babies and children – resulting in Miriam being voted “Best known and most trusted baby guru” by Bounty Mums opinion research in 2005.
Today, Miriam continues to provide invaluable advice and opinion on both children’s and women’s health topics as both columnist for the Daily Mirror newspaper and the resident health expert on Channel Five’s “The Wright Stuff” TV show.
Speaking of her memories as a trainee and young medic in the City, Miriam said:
“In terms of my medical career I owe Newcastle, the RVI and my Professors everything. It was at the RVI that I put in all the ground work for the MRCP exam though I was working in Bristol by the time I actually got it at my third try and it was to my home University that I presented my M.D. Thesis even though I had done the research at Bristol Royal Infirmary. I’m born and bred a Geordie girl and Geordie medicine is deep in my bones.”