BUFFALO, N.Y. – University at Buffalo faculty together
with Buffalo business leaders visited Jamaica to conduct
foundational meetings with the Jamaica Ministry of Health to
collaborate on developing programs for Jamaica in the study and
treatment of HIV and hepatitis C (HCV).
The UB team is led by Charles L. Anderson, MD, and Gene D.
Morse, PharmD, UB Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life
Sciences (CBLS) and the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical
The first step on which UB, Buffalo businesses and Jamaica will
collaborate is the planned transition from a regional hospital
system with paper medical records to a national electronic medical
record system. This effort will blend with the initiatives that are
ongoing at the Patient Safety Organization (PSO) located in
UB’s Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life
Why electronic medical records? And why now?
This transition will help Jamaica streamline record keeping
which is a key objective in its fight against HIV and HCV.
According to the Jamaican Information Service (JIS), 32,000 people
are living with HIV and as many as 50 percent are unaware that they
have the disease.
The collaboration is being modeled after the successful
education and research training program that Morse leads with the
University of Zimbabwe.
Just as in Zimbabwe, Morse says, the process of working together
begins with a focused planning period. Morse is working on the
plans with Michelle Hamilton, director of the Jamaican National
Immunology Laboratory, who will lead a planning grant application
to the National Institutes of Health Fogarty International Center
later in 2014.
Key areas in this research capacity-building collaboration will
include training young scientists in laboratory sciences and HIV
implementation research, just as Morse did in Zimbabwe.
“The overarching goal of this new collaboration is to
bring Buffalo expertise in health care systems to an academic,
business, government partnership that will promote healthcare,
education, technology and business development in Jamaica and
Western New York,” says Morse.
“We are hoping to link their system to the PSO and HIV-HCV
clinical pharmacology research program at the Center so that we can
provide additional connections to the Buffalo Niagara Medical
Regional business leaders were represented by Ryan Erwin, CEO,
and John Hatcher, vice president of business development, both from
Accessium Group Inc. from Williamsville, NY; Peter Sheehan, MD,
Sheehan Health Management Consulting, Inc. of New York City; and
Roger White, CEO, Theralase Inc. of Toronto, Ontario.
Beverly Joy, executive director of the Jamaican and American
Association of Buffalo and Relva Buchanan, PHD, professor of
engineering at the University of Cincinnati represented the
Association. Richard Constable, MD, Rudolph Willis, MD, and Robert
Clarke, MD, from the New Jersey area, represented the HELPJamaica
Medical Mission, an organization under the umbrella of National
Association of Jamaican and Supportive Organizations (NAJASO).
The group attended meetings facilitated by Herman LaMont, consul
general to the United States at the Ministry of Health in Kingston,
Jamaica. The meetings were presided over by the Honorable Dr.
Fenton Ferguson, Minister of Health.
Also in attendance was the former Custos rotulorum, Radcliffe
Walters of Saint Ann’s Parish. Ocho Rios, in the parish of
St. Ann, is a sister city to Buffalo, a designation that promotes
program development and collaboration between the two cities.
Presentations given by the business groups included the
Accessium Group, which focused on cutting edge technology solutions
and health and wellness programs; Theralase Inc. which presented
novel therapeutic strategies that employ laser technology; and
Sheehan Health Management Consulting, Inc., which explained novel
models of primary care for diabetes management.
In an additional meeting with Digicell Inc. plans were reviewed
to architect a countrywide private fiber network with telemedicine
The Buffalo-Jamaica groups visited St. Ann’s Hospital and
during a hospital tour the group had discussions that will provide
the basis for selected areas of initial collaboration that are of
highest priority to Jamaica.
The hospital also is the patient care hub for a network of
community health centers that will be linked by novel information
technology approaches, as well as to the PSO located in CBLS.
This is the second time the Buffalo-Jamaica groups have met.
The first visit in January 2014 took place at UB’s CBLS
where Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown welcomed the participants.