JIS News

Dr. Murchison Callender, a retired Canadian professor of optometry, who has been providing much needed assistance to Jamaicans for the past 30 years, was recently honoured by the Canadian Friends of St. Thomas Healthcare (CFSTH).
Dr. Callender, who is Professor Emeritus at the University of Waterloo’s School of Optometry, has been taking optometry interns to Jamaica since 1974 and in the process, has corrected the vision of thousands of visually impaired Jamaicans.
The group of Jamaican/Canadians paid tribute to Dr. Callender at their 12th annual brunch held recently at the Jamaican Canadian Centre in Toronto, Canada. The organization is dedicated to improving the health care of residents of the parish of St. Thomas and is made up of former residents of that parish who are now living in Canada.
The group has equipped the eye care clinic at the Princess Margaret Hospital with top of the line vision equipment and each year organizes a medical visit to the clinic. Members also donate hours of their time in the weeks and months before each trip, collecting used eyeglasses and analyzing them in preparation for dispensing to Jamaican patients.
Dr. Callender, who joined the University of Waterloo in 1968 where he held many positions including that of Admissions Officer and Director of the Contact Lens Clinic, retired from that institution in 1996.
He has been recognized for his research on the physiology of the eye in contact lens wear. The interns who have visited Jamaica with him, have included several Jamaicans including the late Dr. George Sewell and optometrist Dr. Carolyn Jarrett. Describing Dr. Callender as her mentor and inspiration, Dr. Jarrett, who will be leading a clinic in July of this year, said it has been a labour of love for the retired professor to take interns to Jamaica all these years.
Dr. Callender was not present to accept the accolades because he was in Jamaica again, leading another group of interns on a teaching mission. Jamaica’s Consul General to Toronto Vivia Betton, who made the presentation on behalf of the organization to Dr. Callender’s wife, Chloe, expressed the profound gratitude of the Government and people of Jamaica.
The Consul General also thanked CFSTH for its continuing assistance to their fellow Jamaicans. “I salute you and encourage you to continue with your great efforts. Your work has included not only the eye clinics, but also providing facilities in healthcare,” she stated.
Several members of the organisation were also honoured for dedicated service to the organization over the years. These included Verna Andrade, Avis Carr, Norman Shoualt, Eutilda Walters, Dan Williamson, Marjorie Williamson and Lola Vinsent.

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