Three physicians of the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority (HSA) have obtained their Doctorate of Medicine in Family Medicine at the HSA, which is accredited by the University of the West Indies as a postgraduate training facility for the doctorial level degree.
By completing their degrees, Drs. Glaister Bell, Carmen Martinez and Lorna Jackson have all advanced from being junior physicians to consultant physicians in the practice of family medicine.
Accredited by UWI four years ago, the four-year programme offered by the HSA provides high-quality postgraduate medical education to physicians through core clinical rotations across different specialties within the HSA.
“Family medicine specialty is the branch of medicine that concerns all family members from birth to end of life and entails the holistic care of individuals continuously and comprehensively,” Dr. Bell said. “We were trained by a highly skilled and experienced faculty that was always ready to provide us with expert and proficient guidance. The course modules covered every aspect of paediatric, adult and community medicine ensuring that we were capable of meeting the growing demands of our diverse patients. We believe that this programme is the way forward for all junior doctors who envision family medicine as their goal and passion.”
“The discipline of family medicine is gaining prominence as a vehicle for promoting effective primary healthcare,” said HSA’s Medical Director Dr. Delroy Jefferson, who initiated the accreditation process. “This degree aims to strengthen primary care by developing competent family physicians who are empowered to become leaders and advocates for the future of the profession. The programme will enhance the skills of our doctors, allowing them to develop into expert family physicians whose approach will provide continuous, coordinated, comprehensive and cost-effective care to patients and the community.”
The physicians complete a large percentage of their studies on-island and the remainder at the UWI campus in Jamaica. “The course can be very demanding because you have to balance your studies along with your personal life, and while working full-time as a physician,” said Dr. Martinez. “Nonetheless, everything we have learnt has been current, valuable and has broadened our experience and knowledge, which will help us to enhance the quality of care we deliver to patients.”
“Through this challenging programme we were enlightened to the process of obtaining evidence based medicine, which is very important in the implementation of best practices in modern-day medical treatments,” Dr. Jackson stated.
Many physicians after completing their Doctorate of Medicine seek advanced and a more concentrated training through a fellowship. Likewise, Dr. Martinez has accepted a fellowship to pursue her master’s in haematology at the University of Chester in the United Kingdom for a year beginning 1 Sept.
All physicians entering the Doctorate of Medicine programme at the HSA have obtained their first-level medical doctor degree. The Doctorate of Medicine is a doctorial level and specialised degree, equivalent to a Ph.D. Upon completion of the first two years, the student receives an advanced diploma and after the final two years, they receive their Doctorate of Medicine degree.
Currently there are eight physicians at the HSA registered in the Doctorate of Medicine, family medicine programme. Of these physicians, Drs. Dominic Caudeiron and Maeve Ulett were successful in obtaining the advanced diploma in family medicine, with Dr. Caudeiron receiving a distinction. Both physicians are progressing to the Doctorate of Medicine.
Drs. Anna Matthews and Paul Williams, physicians in family medicine, serve as facilitators for the current students.
“I am extremely proud of our physicians, who never stop acquiring new knowledge and skills in their drive to provide the best possible care for their patients,” said Dr. Jefferson. “I congratulate them as they continue to excel, embracing the culture of continued learning within the service.”