Rooted, Ready, Rising! Three Inaugural Professorial Lectures

To celebrate the University of the West Indies 75th Anniversary the Caribbean Institute for Health Research staged the Inaugural Professorial lectures for Professor Marshall Tulloch-Reid, Institute Director (May 2023), Professor Trevor Ferguson, ERU-CAIHR Director (September 2023) and Professor Monika Parshad-Asnani, SCU-CAIHR Director (October 2023).

While CAIHR is only 24 years old, its oldest unit, the Tropical Metabolism Research Unit, dates back to the 1950s – the early years of the University of the West Indies; the (original) Epidemiology Unit to 1962 and the Sickle Cell Unit to 1974. All were Medical Research Council Units and at that time the Faculty held joint appointments with the University of the West Indies or the University Hospital, teaching preclinical and clinical medical students while also developing their research agendas. The Units later transitioned to full UWI units or in the case of the Epidemiology Unit was restarted as part of CAIHR. The Units of CAIHR, and in particular the TMRU, have served as a training ground for many of the University’s outstanding leaders. Among them, Professor Sir George Alleyne, Chancellor Emeritus, Professor Sir Henry Fraser, former Dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences in Barbados, and Professor Minerva Thame, the first female Dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences at Mona. As we continue to commemorate the University’s 75th Anniversary milestone we are also organizing memorabilia within CAIHR to commemorate the history of the Institute and the achievements of its alumni for display in a section of the TMRU being fitted for this purpose.

The research done by those early pioneers, Professors John Waterloo, Sally McGregor and Graham Serjeant addressed critical public health challenges such as severe acute childhood malnutrition and its neurodevelopmental consequences, sickle cell disease and other non-communicable diseases. Their pioneering work created our current infrastructure and set the stage for much of the meaningful research activities that are now being pursued by the Institute.

And in this tradition, the members of the Institute continue to tackle many global health challenges which are of particular relevance to the Caribbean. These include obesity and its related non-communicable diseases, sickle cell disease, violence prevention and climate change. Our faculty’s internationally competitive, innovative research projects and their sustained engagement with policymakers have helped to develop health policy not only in the region but globally and provides us with an opportunity to shape the next generation of Caribbean scientists to maintain the legacy of the Institute and the University of the West Indies and establish the reputation of the Caribbean, as a global thought-leader in health.

Through the series of lectures we shared some of the outstanding work being done by the current generation of research leaders in the Institute with the University Community & its stakeholders as well as the Caribbean diaspora, as we continue to build the legacy of the University of the West Indies.

CAIHR has been pleased to partner with the Faculty of Medical Sciences (Mona) in staging of these lectures and joins with the family, colleagues, students and friends of our Professors in the celebration of their achievements and wish them continued success in their future endeavors.

CAIHR Faculty and Staff Past and Present

Prof. Marshall Tulloch Reid, Prof. Minerva Thame, Prof Michael Boyne


Prof Trevor Ferguson with his family and parents


Prof Monika Parshad-Asnani with Prof Graham Serjeant and Mrs Beryl Serjeant. Prof Serjeant was former MRC (UK) Director of the Sickle Cell Unit before the Unit became a part of the UWI


The audience