Government to Continue to Support School of Clinical Medicine and Research

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Governor-General of The Bahamas His Excellency the Hon. Arthur D. Hanna (left) unveils the renaming plaque for the University of the West Indies School of Medicine and Research, The Bahamas, at a ceremony, on October 17, 2007. The event also marked the 10th anniversary of the school. Also pictured, from left, are Professor Howard Spencer, Minister of Health and Social Development the Hon. Dr. Herbert Minnis, Professor Knolly Allan Butler, Minister of State for Youth and Sports the Hon. Byran Woodside and Minister of State for Culture the Hon. Charles Maynard. (BIS photo: Eric Rose)

By: Matt Maura

NASSAU, Bahamas – Minister of Health and Social Development, Dr. the Hon. Hubert Minnis said the Government of The Bahamas will continue to make a “significant investment” in the University of the West Indies School of Clinical Medicine and Research, in addition to maintaining its financial commitments to students registered in the University’s medical facilities.

Dr. Minnis said the establishment of the University of the West Indies School of Clinical Medicine and Research in The Bahamas was a “great milestone” in Bahamian history as it had great economic impact on Bahamian students who would have otherwise had to travel abroad to complete their studies.

He noted that Bahamians and the “entire region” should be extremely proud of the “solid, quality training” the University of the West Indies has provided to medical students over the years, adding that training has had a positive impact on the delivery of healthcare within The Bahamas and the regional.

Dr. Minnis was addressing the School’s Renaming Ceremony which was held as part of its 10th anniversary celebrations. The School of Clinical Medicine and Research opened its doors in 1997 as the Clinical Training Programme, Bahamas.

“As a former medical student of the University of West Indies, I was pleased when the Clinical Training Programme was established here in The Bahamas,” Dr. Minnis said. “A greater part of that joy stemmed from the fact that Bahamian students in the final two years of the Medical School at the undergraduate level were able to complete that training here in The Bahamas.

“This was a great milestone because it had great economic impact on those students who would have had to travel abroad to complete their studies along with their families,” Dr. Minnis added.

Dr. Minnis said healthcare officials in The Bahamas are “particularly pleased” with the success of The Bahamian programme thus far. He pointed out that more than 200 students have graduated from the programme over the past 10 years – almost half of them Bahamian.

The School’s current enrolment is just under 100 students, including 33 postgraduate students in 6 postgraduate programmes.

Dr. Minnis acknowledged that some persons may question the reason for the renaming of a programme that is working well and where the perception might be that there is no discernable difference to justify the change.

“I wish to dispel that perception, however, because renaming signifies that a change has occurred and indeed it has. The renaming clearly signifies that we can expect more from this faculty and the inclusion of the word Research is no doubt indicative of what is yet to come,” he said.

Dr. Minnis said the name change and new thrust is indicative of the confidence the University of the West Indies has in the programme in The Bahamas and its ability to deliver much more in addition to the quality instruction and training it has provided over the past 10 years.

He recalled that in 2006, the Government of The Bahamas and the University of the West Indies signed a new seven-year agreement for the continuation of clinical training of medical students in The Bahamas.

“I thank the University of the West Indies for their investment and confidence in the programme and look forward to the continuation of the cordial relationship that is shared between us,” Dr. Minnis added.

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Dr. Hubert Minnis/ Minister of Health 

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Senior government officials listen to Minister of Health and Social Development the Hon. Hubert Minnis’ presentation, during the 10th Anniversary Renaming Ceremony for the University of the West Indies School of Medicine and Research, The Bahamas, on October 17, 2007.  Pictured, from left, are Minister of State for Youth and Sports the Hon. Byran Woodside, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health and Social Development Mrs. Barbara Burrows, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture Mrs. Elma Garraway and Minister of State for Culture the Hon. Charles Maynard.  (BIS photo: Eric Rose)