While some may say that the academic community should not get involved in the political process, one of Barbados’ luminaries in the field of health care research believes they have an important role to play in shaping government policy.
Speaking at the renaming of the Chronic Disease Research Centre (CDRC) in his honour, University of the West Indies’ outgoing chancellor Sir George Alleyne noted that the facility had indeed guided the Government’s policies when it came to dealing with chronic non-communicable diseases.
“One of the things you must always remember as a good academic is that you must never forget the power of ideas to influence the ideation of those in power.
So, since we in academia deal with ideas, we can influence those in power,” he said.
“I think that this centre highlights the critical importance of health, and chronic non-communicable diseases are the most pernicious threat to a nation’s wellbeing, and I am pleased with the work this centre has done to reach out to the Barbadian public and let them know the dangers associated with these conditions.”
In his remarks before the crowd gathered at the George Alleyne Chronic Disease Research Centre, Minister of Health John Boyce lauded the contribution Sir George had made as head of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and as the United Nations Special Envoy on HIV/AIDS.
“We ought to be exceptionally proud of his achievements, and this renaming is an example of our pride and gratitude,” he said, before speaking directly to Sir George. “You have been a champion for all of us to reach for higher and better ideals, and you have established a legacy for all of us to emulate.”
The Minister also commended the work of the Centre, noting that August this year will mark the tenth anniversary of the National Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases Registry, which, in his view “has made a meaningful contribution to health policy development and programming”.
Sir George said he too was proud of he work the Centre has done and continues to do.
“And I am now even more proud to have my name attached to it,” he added.