Author: Dr. Dave V. Cassie, Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences
For yet another year, the University of the Southern Caribbean has thrown its full support behind the hosting of the National Health Research Conference 2022. Health, well-being and research is a vital part of the philosophy of Adventist education and are part of the main pillars of USC’s development and advancement. This year the conference was held face to face for the first time on November 25 at the Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain, Trinidad under the theme: “Pandemics, NCDs and the Future: When Emerging Infections and NCDs Meet” The conference, now in its third year was previously held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
At the recently concluded event USC President, Dr. Colwick Wilson brought reflective and engaging opening remarks along with his counterparts from the University of Trinidad and Tobago, University of the West Indies as well as Dr. Faith B. Yisrael, Secretary of Health, Wellness and Social Protection of the Tobago House of Assembly. Also in attendance via Zoom was Professor Jonathan Patz of the University of Wisconsin-Madison who brought an enlightening feature presentation entitled: “The Climate Crisis: Implications for both Infectious and Non-Communicable Diseases” which highlighted the connection between climate change and the emergence of disease. This was then followed by the feature address which was given by the The Honourable Terrence Deyalsingh Minister of Health, Trinidad and Tobago.
Students of USC were also part of this exciting and informative event. Research from student representatives of the School of Social Sciences was shared via poster presentations. Ms. Allison Abraham-Riley shared her research on Peer Pressure and Alcohol Use among Tertiary level students in Trinidad and Ms. Kere Wylie shared her research on An Assessment of the Impact of HIV Knowledge on Sexual Behavior among Young Adults In Tobago. Ms. Arielle Jobe and her counterparts Naomi Palmer and Stephanie Murphy shared their group research project on Sleep Patterns and Academic Performance among University Students: A Phenomenological Study.
Planning for this successful event began more than six months ago and was spear-headed by Professor Donald T. Simeon of UWI, Chair of the Inter-Institutional Planning Committee, a committee made up of representatives from partner institutions including Ministry of Health, THA, CCHSRD, UWI, USC, UTT and RHAs. USC was represented on that committee by Dr. Edward Clarke, Dr. Susan Chand and Dr. Dave Cassie.
During the day there were sixteen oral presentations which highlighted health research being conducted by students, faculty and staff among the partner institutions and were categorized under the following topics: Infectious diseases, Chronic non-communicable diseases, Clinical/Laboratory studies and Mental Health and Family Planning. Additionally, there were over seventy research poster presentations that were displayed via electronic poster boards. The day culminated with an Awards Ceremony to celebrate the Lifetime Research Achievement Awardee, Professor Terrence Seemungal of UWI as well as to distribute prizes for outstanding oral and poster presentations. As we look forward to NHRC 2023, we are confident of USC’s continued support and involvement in this event and its forward thrust in the areas of health, well-being and research.