By Dr. Jane Harrington
Each year, Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) hosts a conference to highlight medical research activities in the Caribbean region. Our island of Saint Kitts hosted this year’s conference at the St. Kitts Marriott, which provided the UMHS medical students and faculty an opportunity to actively participate. Over the course of three days, UMHS students volunteered at the conference to assist with registration, audio-visual needs, verification of attendee badges, and poster sessions.
As part of the UMHS Medical Research Elective, student Paolo Rodriguez and Dr. Jane Harrington have been working the St. Kitts Ministry of Health to develop a digital public health database. They have been gathering data to assess risk factors for non-communicable diseases at the numerous community health fairs, hosted by student organizations such as AMSA (American Medical Students Association). To comprehensively process the data collected, Dr. Harrington attended the Epi Info™ 7 Data Analysis Workshop prior to the conference to utilize the data analysis program utilized by the CDC. The findings from the project were displayed as a poster presentation, “Development of a Digital Public Health Database to Assess Risk Factors of Diabetes in the Federation of St. Kitts”. The abstract has been published in a supplemental edition of the West Indian Medical Journal.
Retired UMHS Professor Dr. James Gordon Avery additionally contributed to the CARPHA conference to promote his mission to develop multi-national cancer registry, diagnosis and treatment coordination. He attended the pre-conference workshop “Building Multi-Sectoral Partnerships for Translational Cancer Prevention and Control Research in the Caribbean” and gave an oral presentation “Cancer Care in Antigua, Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis.”
Dr. Avery—who was often interviewed by the UMHS Endeavour about his important research when he worked for UMHS—has been a regular conference attendee and was recognized with a certificate of appreciation at the Closing Ceremony for his dedicated support of CARPHA.
The CARPHA conference was considered a great success to bring together health care providers, public health policy makers, and academic researchers from many Caribbean islands. UMHS community members are looking forward to attending and presenting at next year’s conference.
The following volunteers attended the conference:
Yanelle I. Asencio
Amanda Diaz Mendez
Built in the tradition of the best U.S. universities, the University of Medicine and Health Sciences focuses on individualized student attention, small class sizes and recruiting high-quality faculty. For these reasons, UMHS is quickly becoming the school of choice among Caribbean medical schools.