Executive Chairman of the LASCO Affiliated Companies Lascelles Chin recently charged the inaugural graduating class of the Caribbean School of Medical Sciences Jamaica (CSMSJ) to become ambassadors; to fly the flag of the institution high, and impact lives while building their own careers.
During a commencement ceremony held at Shortwood Teachers College last Sunday (November 21), the 13 graduates, which comprised four medical doctors and nine holders of associate degrees in Natural and Applied Sciences, were encouraged by Chin to reach for the highest ideals.
“This graduation is indeed a historic milestone, in the annals of the Caribbean School for the Medical Sciences in Jamaica,” said Chin as he shared with the audience inside the Marjorie Myers Auditorium.
“It will always resound in the hearts of the first graduates here, and in the history and legacy of this institution. This is a moment to treasure, with great pride and joy. Congratulations to faculty and graduates of CSMSJ, on this outstanding achievement, which is a testimony to the awesome power of dreams.”
Also addressing the ceremony, Fayval Williams, minister of education, youth and information, echoed that the group was unique.
“You have been well prepared to enter the specific areas of your career interests and I wish you well. I wish all of you the best. At the same time, I want to encourage you to continue to look for opportunities for further training. We never stop learning and I trust you will embrace the idea of lifelong learning,” Williams said.
“You’re graduating at a time when COVID has significantly increased the acceptance of technology in all facets of our lives. We have become used to getting many services online, including health services, and I want to encourage you to embrace technology in the offerings so that all our citizens can have access to healthcare,” she added.
The CSMSJ, though still in its infancy, has a big vision for its contribution to the country and humanity.
The CSMSJ is the brainchild of general consultant and laparoscopic surgeon Dr Neville Graham and his team, with the aim of providing world-class training, while developing a quality workforce of professionals, ready to confront and conquer the challenges of 21st Century medicine.
“Our students are bonded to work in Jamaica for two years after graduating. Imagine that, giving back. Instead of four, we’d like to graduate 50. We want to support what UWI is doing as well, and what other institutions are doing. We want to graduate 100 nurses. We want to graduate 40 dentists but we have to talk. We need some help because, when this becomes what we want it to be, we will be helping Jamaica even more,” said Graham, executive dean of the CSMSJ.
“Now we’re helping our patients, we’re helping our community, we’re doing research but we want to be a bigger help for our people, and a bigger contribution to humanity.”
Speaking specifically to the medical doctors, Chin encouraged them even further to make a difference in the workplace, contributing to society and helping to save lives.
“I will remind you that in Jamaica there is the sad ratio of one medical doctor to every 5,000 persons in rural areas, and one per every 1,400 persons in urban areas,” he said.
“These ratios, graduates, fall well below the World Health Organisation’s standard of one doctor, per 250 persons. As you embark on your life in the medical sciences field, I would also like you to understand that it will be risky and it will have disappointments along with unspeakable joy. But this is one of the best jobs in the world. You will have the opportunity to save lives and touch the lives of people at their most vulnerable times.”
The founders of the institution were also on the receiving end of commendations from Chin, who openly congratulated them on their vision to establish the CSMSJ, and the tenacity which has been displayed to keep it afloat during the testing times of its burgeoning years.
“This graduation ceremony is testimony of your deep and abiding commitment to the Caribbean region. Patriotism at its finest,” he said.
“You saw supremely qualified students across the Caribbean, who are unable to be accommodated in the limited spaces at our traditional universities for the medical sciences.”