Newly-appointed PAHO Director, Dr. Carissa Etienne, being congratulated by colleagues at the conference. (Image: PAHO)

Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) member states, including Barbados, today elected Dr. Carissa Etienne as its new Director during the 28th Pan American Sanitary Conference being held in Washington, D.C, this week.??

Dr. Etienne, a native of Dominica, will begin her five-year term on February 1, 2013, replacing Dr. Mirta Roses Periago of Argentina, who has been PAHO Director since 2003.??While speaking at the conference, Health Minister, Donville Inniss, emphasised that Dr. Etienne was the second Caribbean citizen to hold this key post, the first being Barbadian, Sir George Alleyne who held the post from 1995-2003.??

"I would like to thank PAHO for all their work and valuable contribution to the region especially in the realm of vaccination.?? I take this opportunity to thank Dr. Mirta Roses for her firm and results-oriented leadership. The first female Director of PAHO has had much success in addressing extreme public health conditions, executing reform of the organisation and reducing inequities in health care delivery, all in a climate of great economic challenge. Dr. Roses, you have been a tireless public health warrior who has fought and won many a battle for the region of the Americas," Minister Inniss remarked.

Dr. Etienne is currently Assistant Director General, Health Systems and Services, of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva. From 2003 to 2008, she served as Assistant Director of PAHO/WHO’s Regional Office for the Americas.??She holds degrees in medicine and surgery from the University of the West Indies as well as a master’s in community health and an honorary diploma in public health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.??

During the five-day conference, members will analyse the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases; child health; and health-related knowledge management and communication; the coordination of health-related international humanitarian assistance in disasters; progress in the area of gender equality, HIV/AIDS prevention and control, among other topics.?? The Barbados delegation includes Minister of Health, Donville Inniss, Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Joy St. John and Ambassador to Washington, D.C., John Beale.


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