Leslie Turnberg graduated in medicine from Manchester University in 1957 and specialised in gastroenterology in Manchester, London and Dallas, Texas. He worked at the Hope Hospital (now Salford Royal), and as Professor of Medicine he developed the site as a teaching hospital by expanding academic interests. His main research contributions were to the understanding of the absorption of electrolytes in the small bowel, and of gastric secretions. As Dean of the University of Manchester Medical School he developed a problem based learning curriculum. In 1992 he was elected President of the Royal College of Physicians of London, where he improved patient involvement in College activities, and played an important role in establishing the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and Academy of Medical Sciences.
Lord Turnberg was knighted in 1994 and was created a Life Peer in 2000. Amongst his many roles in British medicine, he has headed the Medical Protection Society, the Public Health Laboratory Service Board, the Medical Council on Alcoholism and the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research; he is Scientific Adviser to the Association of Medical Research Charities, and a Wolfson Foundation trustee. He continues to be active in medical affairs in the House of Lords and is a member of the Committee on Sustainability of the NHS. He was a Jewish Medical Association (UK) founder patron.
In 2008 Lord and Lady Turnberg, in partnership with the Academy of Medical Sciences, established the Daniel Turnberg Memorial Fellowships. These fellowships are in memory of their late son, a doctor and researcher with a keen interest in fostering links between the UK and the Middle East. The aim is to encourage researchers to experience an alternative research environment, to learn new techniques and develop ideas for future collaborations.
In recent years Lord Turnberg has turned his attention increasingly to the thorny problems of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He has used his experience in research and in large organisations to analyse the reasons behind the inability of the Zionists and the Arabs to reach a compromise. As a Labour Peer he focuses on the problems that abound in the Middle East in his interventions in debates in the House of Lords. His talk at the dinner will be on the topic of “Balfour’s Declaration”.
In 2017 Lord and Lady Turnberg are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary; and the Association’s Annual Dinner coincides with the 70th anniversary of Lord Turnberg’s bar-mitzvah.