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Six UWI Vice-Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence to be given at October Ceremony

For Release Upon Receipt - Sunday, October 1, 2017

Six awards will be presented at The UWI Vice-Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence 2016/2017. A University tradition for more than 20 years, these awards recognise excellence in Teaching, Administration and Research Accomplishments, Service to the University Community, Contributions to Public Service, and All-round Excellence in a combination of two or more of these core areas and a departmental award for service and operational excellence. This year, two new awards are added for excellence in Multi-campus Research Collaboration (the One UWI Award) and excellence in International Collaboration (the Globalisation Award). Although the presentation ceremony is traditionally rotated annually among the University’s four campuses, this year’s ceremony returns to The UWI St Augustine Campus in Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday 25 October, 2017.

The 2016/2017 awardees are as follows:

  • Excellence Award for Teaching | Dr Jacqueline Bridge,Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing and Engineering, St Augustine Campus

  • Excellence Award for Research Accomplishments | Professor Chris Oura,School of Veterinary Medicine, St Augustine Campus

  • Excellence Award for Research Accomplishments | Professor Ian R Hambleton, The George Alleyne Chronic Disease Research Centre, Cave Hill Campus (formerly the Chronic Disease Research Centre)

  • Excellence Award for Contribution to Public Service | Dr Indra Haraksingh, Department of Physics, St Augustine Campus

  • Excellence in International Collaboration (Globalisation Award) |The Project for Ecosystem Services – Professor John Agard, Principal Investigator, Department of Life Sciences, St Augustine Campus

  • Excellence in Multi-campus Research Collaboration (The One UWI Award) | Evaluation of the CARICOM Heads of Government 2007 Port of Spain Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) Summit Declaration – Dr T. Alafia Samuels, Principal Investigator, The George Alleyne Chronic Disease Research Centre, Cave Hill Campus (formerly the Chronic Disease Research Centre)

About the Awardees:

Dr Jacqueline Bridge

Dr Jacqueline Bridge is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at The UWI St Augustine Campus. She describes teaching as her passion and began almost 20 years ago. To date, she has taught hundreds of students in the field of engineering in Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, the United States and Germany. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from The University of the West Indies St Augustine Campus, a Diploma of Education from the University of Technology in Jamaica and a Doctorate from Cornell University in the United States.

Her professional associations include current membership of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Society of Engineering Educators, the International Institute of Acoustics and Vibration and the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers.

She is the author of over 40 refereed publications in journals and conference proceedings and has delivered many other presentations and academic works.

Dr Bridge is the recipient of a Guardian Life Premium Teaching Award and NGC/UWI Outstanding Research Mentorship Award. Her other professional accolades include awards from the World Renewable Energy Network and the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers for her contributions to public education in those disciplines as well as five-time recognition as “Best Mechanical Engineering Lecturer” by graduating cohorts at The UWI.

She believes that her goal as a lecturer is to ignite and sustain student enthusiasm about the course so that each student is willing to invest time in dissecting the lecture, interrogating all the information presented and reassembling it in a manner which makes sense. Her reward comes in the look of satisfaction on a student’s face when he or she finally “gets it”.

Professor Chris Oura

Professor Chris Oura specialises in Veterinary Virology at The UWI St Augustine’s School of Veterinary Medicine located at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mount Hope, Trinidad. He has an extensive background in immunology and molecular biology within the virology and parasitology fields. He earned his qualifications in the UK—a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine degree from London University in 1988, a Master of Tropical Veterinary Science at Edinburgh University in 1992 and a Doctorate from the Pirbright Institute in 1997. He then secured two fellowship opportunities which allowed him to contribute to research in Uganda and led to him establishing his own laboratory there. After three years in Uganda he returned to the UK and spent eight years working with various exotic veterinary viruses back at the Pirbright Institute. He joined The UWI in 2012 as Senior Lecturer in Veterinary Virology and was promoted to full Professor in 2014.

Since joining The UWI, Professor Oura has been awarded in excess of US$1,700,000 in grant funding for research. In the past five years he has published 38 papers in high impact peer review journals, written six book chapters, written and edited one book and delivered 22 oral presentations at 16 international conferences. Professor Oura was awarded Most Outstanding Researcher for the Faculty of Medical Sciences and the EU-funded One Health One Caribbean One Love project which he led, was awarded a UWI/NGC Research Award for Most Outstanding Regional Research Project in May 2016. The One Health One Caribbean One Love project has been hugely successful, leading to the approval and endorsement of a One Health policy by CARICOM and resulting in the publication of a six-year One Health strategic framework for the Caribbean, as well as a book entitled “Caribbean Prosperity and Resilience through One Health.”

Professor Ian R Hambleton

Professor Ian Hambleton’s career at The UWI dates back to 2002 when he joined the University as a Senior Lecturer in Biostatistics in the Sickle Cell Unit at The UWI Mona Campus in Jamaica. He is currently a Professor of Biostatistics and Informatics at The George Alleyne Chronic Disease Research Centre (GA-CDRC, formerly the Chronic Disease Research Centre) in Barbados. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics, a Master’s degree in Medical Statistics and a Doctorate in Statistical Epidemiology. He has worked for over 20 years in the Caribbean, Africa, and Europe and his expertise includes the design, conduct and analysis of randomised clinical trials, population surveys and longitudinal studies.

Professor Hambleton has published over 130 peer reviewed articles on a broad range of issues related to chronic disease, and with colleagues has secured over US$8,000,000 of funding for health-related research. He was a principal investigator on a recently completed National Institutes of Health award to better understand health inequalities in the Caribbean. He is currently involved in analyses for the Barbados National Registry for chronic non-communicable diseases, and for ‘The Health of the Nation’—a national survey to assess Barbadian health. New funded projects include an evaluation of the Barbados tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, the use of virtual environments to test policies for reducing the regional diabetes burden, and assessing the health impacts of community food production—a response to the problem of food security and unhealthy diets in small island developing nations. Together with the GA-CDRC Data Group, Professor Hambleton is currently developing an electronic research data infrastructure to facilitate research operations and collaborations.

He has a long-standing involvement with haemoglobinopathy research, and is a statistical editor for the Genetics Disorders group of the Cochrane Collaboration—an international not-for-profit organisation dedicated to improving healthcare decision-making globally. He works with the International Diabetes Federation—developing methods for reporting global and regional diabetes prevalence, and with the Pan-American Health Organisation—developing guidelines for analysing mortality in the presence of small numbers. He advises on methods for inequality analyses related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Dr Indra Haraksingh

Dr Indra Haraksingh has been a Lecturer in the Department of Physics at The UWI St Augustine Campus for over 12 years, and currently also serves as Coordinator of the MSc Renewable Energy Technology programme. A graduate of The UWI, she holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics and Mathematics; a Diploma in Education in Teaching of Mathematics and a Doctorate in Physics—Solar Energy, all from the St Augustine Campus.

Beyond the classroom, Dr Haraksingh has dedicated her career to public service, working with several public and private organisations, seeking opportunities for collaboration with The UWI. She also works closely with CARICOM and the Embassies of Germany, the UK and Korea in organising and delivering training programmes in renewable energy in Trinidad and Tobago and also regionally. Her earliest interventions in public service date back to being a founding member and Secretary/Treasurer of the Caribbean Solar Energy Society (CSES) in 1989. She has served on numerous local, regional and international boards and societies advancing renewable energy technology and utilisation; just a few of these currently include member of the Renewable Energy Committee of Trinidad and Tobago, President of the Caribbean Solar Energy Society since 1989, member of the Caribbean Renewable Energy Development Programme (CREDP), and member of Council and the International Steering Committee of the World Renewable Energy Network (WREN) since 1996.

Dr Haraksingh’s focus over the past decade has been on Environmental Physics and promoting the development and use of renewable energy technologies within the Caribbean and beyond. She has delivered invited lectures and scientific presentations extensively, and has published in numerous conference proceedings and journals. Her work has earned her local and international awards including the Excellence in Science and Technology from the National Institute of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (NIHERST) in Trinidad and Tobago in 2012; International Pioneer Award for Solar Energy from the World Renewable Energy Network in Glasgow, UK in 2008 and Outstanding Scientist Award, from the World Renewable Energy Congress in 2002.

A significant part of her contribution in public life is her service to the development of Mathematics in young people in Trinidad and Tobago and internationally, serving as Chair of the Trinidad and Tobago Mathematics Olympiad for 23 years and leading the Trinidad and Tobago national teams to five bronze medals and two silver medals at the International Mathematics Olympiad (IMO). Dr. Haraksingh has served as a member of the international Jury of the IMO for over 20 years and more recently as a Director and Treasurer of the International Mathematics Olympiad Foundation (IMOF).

Dr. Indra Haraksingh is the mother of Dr. Rajini Haraksingh, Lecturer in The UWI’s Department of Life Sciences and spouse of Dr. Kusha Haraksingh, himself a former recipient of the Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence.

The Project for Ecosystem Services

The Project for Ecosystem Services (ProEcoServ) was a global initiative aimed at better integrating ecosystem assessment and economic valuation of ecosystem services into poverty reduction and national sustainable development planning. Through the Department of Life Sciences at The UWI St Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago was one of five collaborating countries along with Chile, Vietnam, South Africa and Lesotho where ProEcoServ was conducted over a five-year period, ending in 2016. The global collaboration was coordinated by the United Nations Environment Programme in Nairobi, Kenya and Professor John Agard, Professor of Tropical Island Ecology at The UWI St Augustine served as Principal Investigator and National Coordinator for the Trinidad and Tobago leg of the project.

ProEcoServ contributed to the Biodiversity and Land Degradation Focal Areas of Global Environmental Facility and some of its subcomponents at local levels are also relevant to the land degradation and climate change focal areas. It has also helped to build capacity to mainstream ecosystem services into national developmental policy in Trinidad and Tobago and decision making frameworks which are seen as a priority in all four target countries.

In addition to collaboration across the five countries, The UWI collaborated with other partners with expertise in environmental economics from Costa Rica, Australia, Israel, the UK and the USA to conduct training workshops in Trinidad and Tobago.

The success of ProEcoServ has been regionally and internationally lauded and was even featured in a 2015 Time Magazine article titled, “How Much Is Our Environment Worth?” written by Achim Steiner, the Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme.

Evaluation of the CARICOM Heads of Government 2007 Port of Spain Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) Summit Declaration

In September 2007 leaders of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) gathered at the world’s first Heads of

Government Summit on Non-Communicable Diseases which led to the establishment of the Port of Spain Declaration on NCDs. Seven years later, CARICOM and the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) were charged with evaluating the impact of the Declaration. The research project 2014-2017 was characterised by its multi-campus, multi-agency research team. It was led by The George Alleyne Chronic Disease Research Centre, with Dr T. Alafia Samuels as Principal Investigator, and included The UWI St Augustine’s Institute for International Relations and HEU Centre for Health Economics; The UWI Mona’s Department of Psychiatry and Community Health, Faculty of Medical Sciences; and The UWI Cave Hill’s Public Health Group, Faculty of Medical Sciences.

Researchers from the Caribbean Public Health Agency, the University of Toronto, PAHO/WHO and the Healthy Caribbean Coalition were also involved. Former UWI Chancellor, Sir George Alleyne served as an advisor to the project which was generously supported by the Canadian International Development Research Centre.

The project’s objective was to evaluate, seven years on, the implementation of the CARICOM NCD Summit Political Declaration in order to learn lessons to support and accelerate its further implementation. It involved secondary data analysis for all 20 CARICOM countries, in-depth case studies in seven countries and key informant interviews concerning non-communicable diseases, the leading cause of death and disability in the region.

Results of the study and recommendations for accelerating NCD action at regional and national level were presented to the CARICOM Heads of Government meetings in 2016 and 2017. Significant NCD-related communiqués endorsing the recommended priority policy interventions were issued. The results of the study have also been presented to ministers of health, ministry of health officials, civil society organisations and the public through mass media and the website www.onecaribbeanhealth.org.










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