News Releases

UWI PAHO Climate Change, Health Leaders Fellowship Training kicks off June 7

For Release Upon Receipt - June 1, 2021

St. Augustine

The first cohort of six fellows, selected for the 12 month Climate Change and Health Leaders Fellowship program, kicks off their fellowship training with a Workshop on June 7. The fellowship program is part of a larger European Union funded project, aimed at Strengthening Climate Resilient Health Systems across the Caribbean, and implemented by the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) in association with The University of the West Indies (UWI).

Professor Christopher Oura, Professor of Veterinary Virology in the Faculty of Medical Sciences at The UWI, St. Augustine Campus, points out that “health systems in the Caribbean remain highly vulnerable to impacts from climate change both in the quality and the capacity of services, as well as on the socio-economic and environmental determinants of health. These impacts are well documented: extreme weather conditions; heat waves; more frequent strong and devastating hurricanes; recurring and extended periods of drought followed by excessive rainfall; increased levels of air pollution and sea level rise. They negatively affect lifestyles, food security, water security, and have a direct impact on people’s health and wellbeing in the form of heat strokes, respiratory illnesses (chronic and acute), cardiovascular diseases, non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and many vector-borne and infectious diseases.”

“National socio-economic development is also negatively affected, including workers’ health”, said Professor Terence Seemungal, Dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences, St. Augustine Campus. “The Climate Change and Health Leaders fellowship training program will focus on creating a cohort of inter-sectorial, multidisciplinary leaders with the necessary skills to turn plans and policy into action. It will develop strong, effective Climate Change leadership among government officials, civil society, communities, and private sector, championing and implementing the One Health Approach. Fellows will gain the skills and knowledge to support the process of implementing change, empower communities and support youth engagement.”

The six fellows are from The Bahamas, Barbados, Haiti, Saint Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname. Eligible Caribbean Countries for the fellowship are Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago. During the fellowship, fellows will be expected to lead a nationally relevant climate change and health focused project in their home country and will get the opportunity to spend a week in a CARICOM Climate Change regional agency.

The UWI’s Vice-Chancellor Prof Sir Hilary Beckles and PAHO’s Sub-Regional Director Mr. Dean Chambliss will welcome participants. Opening remarks will come from the Head of Cooperation at the Delegation Mr. Luis Maia while Dr. Jonathan Drewry, PAHO’s Regional Advisor, Climate Change and Health, will speak on Strengthening Climate Resilient Health Systems in the Caribbean.

Further information can be found at or interested persons could email, copy




About The UWI

The UWI has been and continues to be a pivotal force in every aspect of Caribbean development; residing at the centre of all efforts to improve the well-being of people across the region.

From a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948, The UWI is today an internationally respected, global university with near 50,000 students and five campuses: Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, Cave Hill in Barbados, Five Islands in Antigua and Barbuda and its Open Campus, and 10 global centres in partnership with universities in North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe.

The UWI offers over 800 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Culture, Creative and Performing Arts, Food and Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities and Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology, Social Sciences, and Sport. As the Caribbean’s leading university, it possesses the largest pool of Caribbean intellect and expertise committed to confronting the critical issues of our region and wider world.

Ranked among the top universities in the world, by the most reputable ranking agency, Times Higher Education, The UWI is the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists. In 2020, it earned ‘Triple 1st’ rankings—topping the Caribbean; and in the top in the tables for Latin America and the Caribbean, and global Golden Age universities (between 50 and 80 years old).  The UWI is also featured among the top universities on THE’s Impact Rankings for its response to the world’s biggest concerns, outlined in the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Good Health and Wellbeing; Gender Equality and Climate Action.

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(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)