Health industry chiefs converge for Cayman Islands Healthcare Conference

More than 600 local and overseas delegates are expected to attend the fifth annual Cayman Islands National Healthcare 20/20 Conference, which begins Thursday, Nov. 20. 

Chronic noncommunicable diseases is the focus of the three-day conference, which is free and open to the public. 

Top healthcare professionals from around the globe are slated to speak at the event at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, at which Governor Helen Kilpatrick is due to make the opening remarks. 

“The caliber of speakers at this year’s conference is profound, and we intend to highlight a range of topics that will be beneficial to the medical community and the general public alike,” said Minister of Health Osbourne Bodden. 

Winning the war against chronic noncommunicable diseases is the theme of this year’s conference, and Dr. James Hospedales, executive director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency, will give the opening presentation on Thursday evening. 

The following day, a series of talks will address healthcare management strategies surrounding mental health, diabetes, obesity and cancer. 

Dr. Marc Lockhart, chairman of Cayman’s Mental Health Commission, will kick off Friday’s agenda with an overview of mental health in the Cayman Islands, starting at 8.30 a.m. 

Shannon Seymour, psychologist and director of the Wellness Centre, will follow with a talk on the community response to mental health. 

“I’m really excited that mental illness is going to be one of our key topics this year,” she said. “I think that it is a step in the right direction to be talking about mental illness at a national healthcare conference in terms of making the entire medical community recognize their role in treating and managing mental illness. 

“The conference provides a good platform for local health professionals to network with others in the industry. It’s always good to network, it is a wonderful opportunity for people in the healthcare industry to get together. We don’t have a lot of opportunities for that kind of professional networking here,” she said. 

Also speaking on Friday will be hematologist-oncologist Dr. Shayma Kazmi, who will discuss genetics and DNA sequencing applications in cancer treatment; Dr. George Peoples, founder of the Cancer Vaccine Development Program, who will lead a presentation on a newly developed cancer treatment that uses immunotherapy agents; and Dr. Robert Cywes, a specialist in neonatal, pediatric surgery and adolescent surgery who will give a presentation on facts versus beliefs in relation to obesity.  

Another presentation will cover the global trends in Type 2 diabetes, headed by Dr. Edward Anim-Addo, chief medical officer with Tenet Florida Physician Services. This will be followed by a presentation by the medical director of Cayman’s Heart Health Centre, Dr. Mikhail Kosiborod, on the complications of diabetes. 

The event will also include a series of workshops Friday afternoon. Among those leading the workshops will be Jennifer Ahearn of the Ministry of Health, Shomari Scott of Health City Cayman Islands, Will Pineau of the Chamber of Commerce, and Annikki Brown of Generali Worldwide. 

The conference continues Saturday with a half-day of presentations, including by Dr. Fitzroy Henry, professor of public health nutrition at the University of Technology in Jamaica, on food security, nutrition and noncommunicable diseases control in the Caribbean; Dr. Lawrence Friedman, professor of clinical medicine and pediatrics at the University of California-San Diego, on using technology to improve diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and the role of electronic medical records and mobile monitoring; and chief interventional cardiologist and electrophysiologist at Health City, Dr. Ravi Kishore Amancharla, on conquering cardiovascular disease. 

Health Minister Bodden said he hopes this year’s conference will inspire participants to “make positive lifestyle changes to influence their own health.”  

“NCDs [noncommunicable diseases] are largely about personal responsibility, and not what others can do for you,” he said. 

For a full schedule, visit www.healthcareconference.ky

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