The Health Services Authority (HSA) and the Seafarer’s Association have entered into a joint Memorandum of Understanding to provide scholarships to two Caymanian doctors employed to the HSA to complete their postgraduate studies in the field of medicine.
The Seafarers Association scholarship recipients are Dr Irka Ebanks, who is currently studying Naturopathy and Herbal Medicine at College of Naturopathic Medicine in London and Dr Lorna Jackson, who is engaged in studies leading to a doctorate in Family Medicine at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica.
The scholarships provide full funding for the two successful doctors to obtain specialty training overseas for up to four years. Dr Ebanks began her three-year course in October 2015 and is expected to graduate in October 2018. “It has been a real blessing to be awarded a scholarship from the Seafarers Association. I started my studies without the aid of a scholarship or sponsorship and was unsure how I would finish the course. It took a lot of dedication to my studies, prayer and patience to qualify so I was overwhelmed when I received the confirmation email from the Scholarship Secretariat,” she said.
Dr Jackson expects to complete the doctorate in Family Medicine in May 2019. “I’m honoured to be selected as a recipient of the Seafarer’s Scholarship which allows me the opportunity to fulfill my passion of becoming a primary healthcare practitioner. I believe a greater focus on primary healthcare assists in the prevention of chronic diseases which so often have a debilitating effect on the people of our society.”
“We were approached by the Minister of Finance in regards to sponsoring local doctors to become specialists, and by understanding the need in our community our members thought it was a very important initiative to support, and we are very proud to do so,” said John Douglas President of the Cayman Islands Seafarers Association (CISA).
The Ministry of Education and the HSA managed the scholarship’s application process along with the interviews before selecting the recipients.
Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports Chief Officer Christen Suckoo thanked the Seafarer’s Association for providing the opportunity for the local physicians to pursue specialist training. He expressed the importance of such financial support being given to our local doctors so they may obtain the professional development needed to serve their community.
“I am very grateful that the support for training of doctors in specialist areas has been made a priority by the Education Ministry, as this funding is critical for succession planning in the physician services,” said the HSA’s Chief Executive Officer Lizzette Yearwood.
“I would also like to thank the Seafarers Association for their eager acceptance to support improving the quality of healthcare at the HSA as they have done in the past and continue to do,” she added.