Directors Message

Message from the Director
Dr. Robin Roberts

Once again our Research Committee sets out in its mission “To facilitate the improvement of health of the people of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas through clinical research that will produce valuable knowledge for the prevention and management of diseases, and formulation of health policies and programmes.”

No health care malady presents a greater burden in our population than obesity. With a national profile of two out of every three persons in the Bahamas being overweight, and one out of every three children of school age, the need for national policies and interventions cannot be overstated. The CDC in its missive on Adult Obesity, Causes and Consequences underscores the magnitude of this public and global health issue: “obesity is a serious concern because it is associated with poorer mental health outcomes, reduced quality of life, and the leading causes of death in the U.S. and worldwide, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer.”

Outscored only by hypertension, obesity and overweight are the leading risk factors for the NCDs, the foremost cause of mortality in the Caribbean. With the realities that our countries are experiencing the fastest rise of overweight children, the lives of our current and future generations are at stake. We do not have the luxury and latitude of time to engage in the debate of whether obesity is disease or a lifestyle disorder. It is both. The challenge to curbing this public health problem requires both intervention strategies, and being implemented simultaneously.

This 11th Annual Research Day symposium addresses obesity, the disease and the lifestyle disorder. The agenda highlights the magnitude of the problem in our region, shifts to making the diagnosis, and progresses naturally to both the medical and surgical treatment options. There is a major focus on lifestyle changes and the need and benefits of optimizing our dietary habits. We welcome the cadre of international and regional researchers on the podium. I applaud the continuing research initiatives of our students and faculty; the quality and quantity of research as defined by abstracts, meet the standards for publication as a supplement in our West Indian Medical Journal. We commend the efforts of our Research Chairman Dr. Darron Halliday and our epidemiologist Dr. Morton Frankson.

I would be remiss not to highlight the introduction of our writer’s workshop to launch the symposium. We are mindful that over the years, we have published less than 10% of the School’s research output in peer-reviewed journals. We must change this. The workshop challenges students and faculty to produce draft submissions of studies completed but not yet published, and to have access to, and the benefit of our visiting international researchers as reviewers. Publish we shall.


Dr Robin Roberts Director