CDEMA – CCDM establish partnership to improve region’s healthcare preparedness

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Ronald Jackson, CDEMA Executive Director and Dr Mark Quirk, Executive Director of the Caribbean Center for Disaster Medicine and Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education at AUC School of Medicine, sign an agreement to increase collaboration while Hazarie Ramoutar, Senior Administrator for Campus Operations at AUC School of Medicine, looks on. (Photo: Business Wire)

CUPECOY, Sint Maarten – With a focus on improving the delivery of healthcare services in the Caribbean in times of disaster, leaders from the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine’s Caribbean Center for Disaster Medicine (CCDM) signed an agreement to increase collaboration between the groups.

Silveria Jacobs, prime minister of Sint Maarten, addressed attendees at the signing ceremony, speaking on the impact of hurricane Irma and the importance of building resiliency. “We have been engaging centres of higher learning in the Caribbean for some time as a means of ensuring that the agency is cultivating a brain trust that can aid in the development of innovative programmes to drive the comprehensive disaster risk management and resilience mandate among participating states”

Through the partnership, CDEMA, the regional agency for disaster management, and the CCDM, which focuses on disaster medicine education and training, will bring together stakeholders and resources to train professionals and enable the public to better prepare for disaster-related medical and healthcare issues.

“We have been engaging centres of higher learning in the Caribbean for some time as a means of ensuring that the agency is cultivating a brain trust that can aid in the development of innovative programmes to drive the comprehensive disaster risk management and resilience mandate among participating states,” said Ronald Jackson, executive director of CDEMA. “Previously, we have leveraged these efforts around The University of the West Indies (UWI), University of Technology (UTECH) and University of Guyana. We are now happy, therefore, to be engaging with knowledgeable partners, beyond our traditional community of actors, such as the Caribbean Center for Disaster Medicine (CCDM) at American University of the Caribbean (AUC) School of Medicine, so that we are able to benefit from a wider pool of knowledge resources that can aid our resilience-building efforts.”

“CDEMA is a leader in helping our communities manage the impact of natural disasters and a critical partner in our mission to improve disaster preparedness and response from a health care perspective,” said Mark Quirk, executive director of the CCDM. “Through this agreement, the CCDM pledges to move our work with CDEMA forward as we focus on collaborative efforts in education and training for healthcare and non-healthcare professionals. Together, we will work across islands and across countries with experts from multiple fields and disciplines to improve disaster resilience in the Caribbean.”

“The agreement between CDEMA and the CCDM is a great link for Sint Maarten, thereby enhancing our disaster preparedness and response in relation to medical and healthcare. American University of the Caribbean (AUC) School of Medicine plays such a great role here on Sint Maarten, and we hope to continue forging ways of collaboration in the interest of education and healthcare,” said Silveria Jacobs, prime minister of Sint Maarten. “With some of the challenges Sint Maarten is currently facing getting our projects up and running, we hope that any actions, decisions and future plans from this partnership may give us better direction in the way we respond to the needs of our communities and in safeguarding and promoting the overall health of the people of Sint Maarten before, during and after a disaster. This way, we may look forward to the real actions and benefits on the ground for Sint Maarten and the rest of the region.”

The partnership will be highlighted at the 2020 International Conference on Disaster Medicine and Hurricane Resiliency, March 26-29. Organized by the CCDM, the conference provides an opportunity for attendees to receive continuing medical education (CME) credit. Healthcare providers, administrators, educators, researchers, and emergency personnel are encouraged to attend.

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