Record attendance expected at National healthcare conference

Dr Higgs, Dr. C. James Hospedales and Dr. Wael Barsoum

The sign-up sheets suggest record attendance at this year’s Oct. 20-22 healthcare conference, featuring 10 speakers from North America and the Caribbean and exploring the medical challenges confronting individuals as they age.

“Violence and trauma can have serious … consequences for children’s physical and mental health.”

This is the seventh consecutive year the Ministry of Health has staged the conference. This year’s theme is “The Chapters of a Healthy Life.”

The event, staged at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman looks set to outdraw last year’s record 1,000-delegate attendance. The daily sessions start with breakfast and throughout the day there are speaker sessions, coffee breaks and networking, followed by evening cocktails.

The conference opens at 4 p.m. on Thursday with a 45-minute session by sponsor BritCay, followed by registration from 5-5:30 p.m. Afterward, Premier and Minister of Health Alden McLaughlin will deliver opening remarks.

In his formal introduction on the website, the premier described the conference’s “chapters” theme as “particularly appropriate” as local healthcare services continue “to grow and expand,” ensuring “we can take care of all persons at each stage of life.”

After some additional remarks, Dr. C. James Hospedales will address “Writing the Next Chapter: Achieving Goals for a Healthier Caribbean Region.” Dr. Hospedales is executive director of Trinidad’s Caribbean Public Health Agency, founded in 2010 to pool regional research on public health and boost cross-jurisdiction efforts to counter such broad threats as chikungunya and the Zika virus.

After another session closes out the formal section of the first day, there will be a cocktail reception sponsored by Cayman’s Ironshore Pharmaceuticals and Development at 7:15 p.m.

Starting at 7:45 a.m. with registration and breakfast, sponsored by Miami’s public health trust Jackson International, sessions begin at 8:30 a.m., when Dr. Verna Brooks McKenzie, women’s health consultant with the Jamaica government, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the North American Menopause Society, and 2016 documentary filmmaker, will speak on “Women’s Menopausal Health.”

She will be followed at 9:30 a.m. by fellow Jamaican Dr. Fitzroy Henry, of Kingston’s University of Technology, speaking about nutrition in an overview titled “Nutrition: The Preface to a Healthy Life.”

A 15-minute coffee break, sponsored by Cayman’s Wellness Centre, offers a short hiatus before Toronto author and educator Michael Reist speaks on “Promoting Emotional Health Through Childhood and Adolescence,” addressing parental roles helping children and adolescents face unique stresses. Mr. Reist will explore strategies to help achieve a “balance between freedom and structure in parenting, and how to help kids negotiate their way in a competitive world dominated by screens and technology.”

Barbadian Sophia Chandler Alleyne, child psychologist at the Cayman Island’s Hospital, will speak at 11:50 a.m. on the critical problem of child abuse: “Victims or Survivors: Possible Outcomes Over the Lifetime of Those Who Have Experienced Childhood Trauma.”

“Violence and trauma can have serious and long-lasting consequences for children’s physical and mental health” and can “last right through their lifetime, robbing them of the opportunity to live their best life,” she says.

High-profile West Bay resident, founder of the “Blue Spot” campaign for handicapped motorists and mother of a “differently abled” son, Chelsea Rivers will next detail her family’s experience in a talk titled “Children with Disabilities: When Hugs and Band-Aids are not Enough.”

She will discuss how the “chapters of a healthy life” may be dramatically different for those “differently abled,” especially as regards the healthcare, insurance and educational industries.

Closing Thursday’s roster of speakers is Canada’s Dr. David Greenberg, looking at men’s health under the title “Development and Implementation of Men’s Health Guidelines for Family Practice and The Alpha Male/How to Care for the Man Who Doesn’t Think He Needs Your Care.”

In an entertaining and incisive hour, Dr. Greenberg will analyze his efforts to counter common ailments – and broad cultural assumptions – besetting almost 8 million over-40 Canadian males.

Thursday will be capped by three two-hour breakout sessions offering attendees a chance to circulate, ask questions and interact with conference speakers and expert panelists.

Between 3:15 and 5:15 p.m., the three panels will discuss “Tech-ing up Your Health,” moderated by the Health Services Authority’s Dr. John Lee, leading discussion among Mr. Reist, Dr. Kyu Rhee of IBM and Stephanie Deer of Kansas City-based health-information technology services supplier Cerner Corp.

The “Saving Face: Teeth, Eyes & Ears” discussion will be led by Cayman Islands Hospital CEO Lizzette Yearwood, and feature Dr. Naude Dreyer of the Merren Dental Center, Dr. Eugene Foley of Foley’s Eye Clinic and Dr. Annette Stephenson of Cayman Hearing Center.

The third panel, “Understanding the Ageing Brain,” will be led by Ministry of Health Chief Officer Jennifer Ahearn, and staffed by Dr. Hospedales, Saturday speaker Louis Tenenbaum of Canada’s Homes Renewed/Aging in Place Institute, and Dr. Romnesh de Souza of Cayman’s Alzheimer’s and Dementia Association.

On the final day, Mr. Tenenbaum will address “Ageing in Place,” followed by Memorial University of Newfoundland’s Dr. Colin Higgs speaking on “A New Approach to Increasing Population Physical Activity.”

Closing speaker will be Dr. Wael Barsoum of Florida’s Cleveland Clinic, summing up the conference and offering his own reflections in his talk titled “The Chapters of a Healthy Life: Change Your Chapter by Modifying your Behavior.”

Pinnacle Media Ltd., a major sponsor of the event, will be introducing at the conference its new publication, the “Cayman Health Directory 2017.” All attendees are invited to stop by the Pinnacle booth and display to receive their free copy.