Interview with Dr. Luis Nacul: Part One

Updated: Jun 23, 2020

Last month, ME/FM Society of BC volunteer, Howard Searle, made his way to Vancouver to meet with Dr. Luis Nacul, Medical Director of BC Women’s Hospital Complex Chronic Diseases Program (CCDP), at his apartment. Howard was there to interview Dr. Nacul for an article for our Society’s 2019 December fundraiser.

Howard was a registered ER nurse in his life before ME. Like all of us, he was impatiently waiting for the new Medical Director to arrive in Vancouver and take up the leadership of the CCDP. But unlike most of us, Howard has had the opportunity to meet Dr. Nacul one-on-one and ask him questions that mattered to him. The end result is an engaging and informative two-part article.

Part 1 focuses on the CCDP and clinical aspects of ME and fibromyalgia

Part 2 focuses on research. Read here.


Interview with Dr. Luis Nacul, Part 1 :

Clinical issues & CCDP

by Howard Searle


You were appointed as the new Medical Director of the BC Women’s Hospital’s Complex and Chronic Diseases Program (CCDP) in April this year. Is the CCDP a full-time position for you, and how much of your time will be spent in London in your continuing work with the UK Biobank and the revision of the UK’s NICE guidelines for ME?

Dr Nacul:

Eighty percent of my time will be as the Medical Director of the CCDP here in Vancouver and twenty percent of the time I will be in London with my other work where I have for many years been leading a group of researchers in the CureME Team at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Of course my work there will be less than it used to be, but I feel that I can still be useful and I want to be part of that. It’s a very important and exciting time in the UK as it is here in Canada and there is more visibility and recognition for complex and chronic diseases and there are lots of things to do. The internet has made the world smaller and we can easily communicate online. This week for example we had a video conference with people in the UK, the US, here and in Tanzania, and as long as we adjusted the meeting time so that nobody had to get up in the middle of the night, it worked out just fine. This allows us to work broadly, internationally, wherever we are.


The stated mandate for the CCDP is the proper testing, diagnosis, treatment and research to support ME patients. What is your vision for the program going forward as its Medical Director?

Dr Nacul:

One of the things we’ve just been talking about is research, and I’d like to see the CCDP very active in research and contributing to refining the evidence for ME at an international level. This is one aspect, finding evidence of biomarkers, evidence for diagnostic tests, and evidence for treatments. If we can do this, then it will fulfill one of our main objectives behind our mandate.

There are three things that I would like to see us do better; one is research, another is education. You just mentioned that your own GP did not understand ME and did not want to learn anything about it when you brought him the Canadian Consensus Guidelines document to read. Obviously, we need to address this by better educating health professionals in primary care, including physicians. This is another part of our mandate.