Collaboration with Public Health

The GA-CDRC and Public Health Group of the Faculty of Medical Sciences at Cave Hill decided to work closely together pursuing common goals from March 2015. The collaboration is intended to take us all the way … from outcome.

GA-CDRC Director's message: Professor Alafia Samuels

The GA-CDRC has a strong track record in undertaking population based epidemiological research, focusing on surveillance of chronic non-communicable disease (NCD) incidence, prevalence and risk factors, documenting the NCD epidemic in the Caribbean: the worst in the region of the Americas. Despite our excellent publication output, the Centre has not sufficiently translated its research into improving the health status of the people of the Caribbean. To do so, the GA-CDRC needs to gain the necessary expertise to translate research results into policy and practice. The GA-CDRC has therefore formed a functional merger with the Public Health Group of the Faculty of Medical Sciences in order to strengthen our capacity for translation. The new building proposal will support the merger of expertise between the GA-CDRC and the Public Health Group to create a centre for Population Health Sciences. This will allow us to be co-resident, and enhance our collaboration. It will also strengthen our ability to support translational research in the non-campus territories, especially the seven small island developing countries of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States. The MPH programme has trained a wide network of graduates from these countries, which will allow for collaboration in research and policy.

The GA-CDRC is one of four units of the Caribbean Institute for Health Research (CAIHR), formerly TMRI, which is based in the UWI Vice Chancellory. Our vision, mission and goals are fully aligned with those of CAIHR, which speak to executing innovative cross-institute research themes and programmes addressing regional and global health priorities and translating evidence based research on priority issues to develop and strengthen programmes that improve lives in the Caribbean and beyond.

Dean, Faculty of Medical Science's message: Dr Peter Adams

The long-standing UWI clinical training programme in Barbados was transformed by development of a full Faculty of Medical Sciences in 2008. In addition to undergraduate training, a taught Masters in Public Health was simultaneously established with dedicated Public Health faculty thus setting the stage for expanding and cementing a long established relationship between the Faculty and the GA-CDRC in Barbados. The Public Health Group (PHG) underwent a functional merger with the GA-CDRC in 2015, working towards a common vision and goals. The merged departments have already combined on important joint research projects such as the Health of the Nation study (2015) and Barbados Diabetes Reversal Study (2016).

The Faculty of Medical Sciences therefore fully embraces the plans to combine the expertise of the GA-CDRC and PHG under one roof, thereby creating a unique centre of excellence for the region with the credibility to take on the daunting health challenges of the region.

Director, Caribbean Institute for Health Research (CAIHR): Professor Susan Walker

The GA-CDRC is a unit of the Caribbean Institute for Health Research (CAIHR) with headquarters on the Jamaica campus, has a broad remit to conduct research relevant to the Caribbean region and globally. With the Caribbean population experiencing the epidemiological transition, whereby, the health priorities have shifted to lifestyle related diseases such as obesity and cardiovascular diseases as the major economic and public health burdens, it is imperative that as the regional institution charged with addressing these concerns, that we take a fresh and enlightened look at our response. Clearly, one such response is to improve our capacity in Population Health which would lead to a more rapid translation of research findings into policy and practice. But why is this necessary? It is well accepted that better use of research and evidence in policy and practice, can, at the individual level help save lives, reduce poverty and improve quality of life while at the macro level, be cost-effective and improve the developmental trajectory of communities and countries. It is within this context , that this pioneering partnership of the GA-CDRC and Public Health must be viewed and supported and recommended to other UWI territories as a strategy to address health needs of our people as well as globally.

Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the Cave Hill Campus: Professor Eudine Barriteau

The Cave Hill Campus is delighted to announce the redevelopment plans for a new Population Health Sciences building at the GA-CDRC site on Jemmotts Lane. The merger between the GA-CDRC and the PHG, two of the strongest research groups in the University, is both exciting and necessary. The Campus is proud of the international reputation forged by these departments in the fields of chronic disease research and public health, but it is only by bringing these groups together in a purpose built facility designed for population health studies that the full synergies of the merger can be realized. The initiative is also timely, since the debilitating chronic disease epidemic risks eroding the health and economic development gains of the Caribbean region since the independence movement. The UWI is confident that this named building represents an “investment grade” opportunity for a donor to build a lasting legacy for the improved health of the Caribbean region, guaranteed by a quarter century unbroken stream of research outputs and international grant raising. The Population Health Sciences building forms part of a wider redevelopment plan to create a UWI “medical campus” in the Jemmotts Lane / Bridgetown area, adjacent to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. This will allow the University to interact with and serve the health needs of patient populations more effectively, while contributing to the broader development of an underserved region of Bridgetown.

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