By Simone Augustus, Corporate Communications Officer
The University of the Southern Caribbean (USC) proudly represented and actively participated in the highly anticipated 2023 National Health Research Conference (NHRC) held on Friday, November 17, 2023 at the Hyatt Regency in Port of Spain. The conference, themed “Healthcare for the Future: Emerging Threats and Sustainable Solutions,” provided a platform for experts, policymakers, and institutions to address critical health challenges facing Trinidad and Tobago.
The NHRC 2023 was made possible through the collaborative work of several partners in health: Ministry of Health, Trinidad and Tobago National Nursing Association, Tobago House of Assembly (THA), Faculty of Medical Sciences & Caribbean Centre for Health Systems Research and Development, The University of the West Indies, The University of Trinidad and Tobago, The University of the Southern Caribbean, Eastern Regional Health Authority, North Central Regional Health Authority, North West Regional Health Authority, South West Regional Health Authority, Tobago Regional Health Authority, and the Caribbean Community of Practice for Health Policy & Systems Research.
The event commenced with opening remarks from leaders of collaborating partners, including USC’s President, Dr. Colwick Wilson, who expressed gratitude for the invitation and underscored the importance of contextually driven scientific knowledge in addressing the nation’s health challenges.
Dr. Wilson’s remarks emphasized USC’s commitment to the conference’s goals and its integral role in informing and influencing discussions on culturally and contextually relevant health issues. He commended the organizers and volunteers for their unwavering commitment to the NHRC’s upward trajectory, highlighting the importance of the conference in shaping national growth and development.
Dr. Wilson drew attention to the rich and diverse agenda of the conference, with presentations covering critical health topics such as COVID-19, emerging diseases like monkeypox, lived experiences among patients with chronic non-communicable diseases, and the economic impact of dementia. He emphasized the importance of evidence-based therapies and the need to cultivate practice-based evidence for effective healthcare interventions.
Acknowledging the persistent gap in culturally specific research methodologies in the Caribbean, Dr. Wilson affirmed USC’s commitment to addressing this challenge in the future. He particularly highlighted the escalating concern of dementia in the region, emphasizing the need for prevention through early diagnosis and robust risk reduction strategies.
In closing, Dr. Wilson expressed gratitude to the research mentors and applauded their efforts in nurturing young scholars. Congratulations were also extended to all participants for their contributions to the conference, affirming a bright future for research and interventions in healthcare.
The feature speaker for the event was Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick, the 17th President of Howard University, who delivered an insightful address on “A.I. and Healthcare.” The keynote address was presented by The Honourable Terrence Deyalsingh, Minister of Health, Trinidad and Tobago.
The conference agenda featured presentations, encompassing topics from COVID-19 and emerging diseases like monkeypox to the experiences of chronic non-communicable disease patients. The USC delegation actively participated in various aspects of the conference, with student and faculty representatives attending presentations covering a diverse range of topics.
Dr. Dave Cassie, co-chair of the NHRC 2023 Inter-Institutional Planning Committee, played a key role in the successful planning and execution of the conference. Dr. Susan Chand and Dr. Lydia Campbell-George also represented USC, contributing their expertise to the conference’s overall success.
The USC delegation left the NHRC 2023 with a renewed commitment to actively contribute to translating scientific findings into culturally appropriate, affordable, and reliable interventions, furthering the university’s dedication to advancing healthcare in Trinidad and Tobago.
The 2023 National Health Research Conference served as a pivotal platform for knowledge exchange, collaboration, and the collective pursuit of sustainable solutions to the emerging health threats faced by the nation. The USC community looks forward to continued engagement in such impactful initiatives, furthering its mission of contributing to the advancement of healthcare in the region.
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