(Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – May 7th, 2021): Nearly 250 health practitioners from 15 countries participated in a virtual ethics symposium hosted by InterHealth Canada – Turks and Caicos Islands Hospital and the TCI Medical Association on Thursday, April 29th, 2021. The virtual event was held under the theme, “Developing ethical competency as a key driver to growing excellence and programs in health research.” The agenda featured a broad range of speakers from across the Caribbean region. The presenters comprised of Dr. Henry Blythe, Chair of the Turks and Caicos Islands Hospital Ethics Committee, Nurse Mary Forbes, President of the Turks and Caicos Islands National Ethics Committee, Dr. Shandey Malcolm, National Epidemiologist, Dr. Derrick Aarons, CEO of the Turks and Caicos Islands Health Professions Authority and Bioethicist, Dr. Morton Anthony Frankson, UWI School of Clinical Medicine and Research, Dr. Mauricio Orozco, Vice President of the Research Ethics Committee and Researcher, Hospital Internacional de Colombia and Dr. José Federico Saaibi, Board of directors and Chief of Hemodynamics, Fundación Cardiovascular de Colombia.
The key topics included but were not limited to the foundation of hospital-based research, the role of ethics in the TCI health research landscape, the role of the National Epidemiology and Research Unit, ethical principles in research involving human participants, paper-writing guidelines for health research, and shared experiences in telemedicine.
Virtual attendees originated from the Turks and Caicos Islands, Bahamas, Canada, Bermuda, Colombia, Egypt, United Kingdom, Guyana, Jamaica, India, Cayman Islands, St Lucia, Philippines, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United States of America. The post-event survey recorded excellent ratings by respondents who agreed that the presentations met their expectations. Commenting on the event, Chief Executive Officer at Turks and Caicos Islands Hospital, Dr. Denise Braithwaite-Tennant, stated: “Public trust is largely dependent on our ability as professionals to demonstrate ethical competence. Virtual technology allows us to network and easily capitalize on opportunities for knowledge transfer. The COVID-19 pandemic is a great accelerator of health research and provides immense opportunities for health innovation, especially in delivering care and personalized medicines. The organization seeks to achieve a diverse range of research projects over the next 5 to 10 years to help inform policy and practice. We seek to build more training programs and leverage our information technology platforms to achieve our mandate. The symposium was an enriching event, and we are excited about the future of health research and the potential benefit for the local and global community.”
Chair of the Turks and Caicos Islands Hospital Ethics Committee, Dr. Henry Blythe, stated: “Over the past 11 years, the Turks and Caicos Islands Hospital has accumulated a wealth of experience and clinical data, which speaks to best practices in the delivery of health care. We are confident that the rest of the world can learn from our experiences in one way or another. It is against this background that we seek to foster a culture of research and knowledge sharing among our clinical staff. The mandate of research is to discover and share new knowledge and experiences. The primary objective of the research ethics symposium was to highlight the ethical variables involved in the conduct of clinical research and stimulate participants to get involved in research. The overwhelming interest was evident in the number of local and international participants. The attendance provided reassurance that there is a germinating research landscape across the TCI.”
Training and Education Manager at Turks and Caicos Islands Hospital, Dr. Jacqueline Moe-Cox, stated: “The TCI Hospital’s collaboration with regional and global stakeholders represents our commitment to stimulating a culture where research and continuous learning are promoted. This knowledge sharing will improve competence and excellence in service delivery that will contribute to all-round benefits.”
President of the Turks and Caicos Islands Medical Association, Dr. Daren Hall, stated: “The symposium is timely as research and ethics in research is what gives the health profession credibility and gains public trust.”