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The University of Minnesota (UMN) School of Public Health in Minneapolis is joining forces with the University of Technology School of Public Health, to carry out a five-year training programme in non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

The disclosure followed a visit to the university by Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Professor Stephen Vasciannie last week, who held discussions with a number of health professionals.

Associate Professor of Public Health at the UMN, Dr. Mark Pereira, said some US$1.5 million is being sought from the National Institute of Health to carry out the programme.

“We aim to sustainably strengthen the capacity of UTECH, its faculty and staff, and the surrounding communities and institutions in Jamaica, with pressing public health problems in the area of NCDs in order to conduct and evaluate translational and implementation research on NCDs and related disorders,” Dr. Pereira said.

He pointed out that “our ultimate goal is to provide a sustainable platform for continued development and implementation of evidence-based interventions at the individual, group, and community levels. Through this process, we will train a cadre of young public health professionals, who will devote their careers to improving the health of Jamaica.”

Dr. Pereira and Dr. Winston Davidson from UTECH will work together, with their faculty members, to oversee all components of the research training programe, which will focus on obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease; physical activity and nutrition; maternal and child health; adolescent health; mental health; aging; and cancer.

Each research and training area will have designated faculty from UTECH and from UMN as leaders and mentors.

Professor Pereira said that “given the extent of the public health problems throughout the Caribbean, we also envision our programme serving as a model for future programmes in collaboration with institutions in the surrounding countries of this diverse and developing region.”

Contact: Derrick Scott