History of the National Health Research Conference

Conference Activities Over the Decade

The inaugural National Health Research Conference was held on November 25-26, 2010 at the Wyndham Kingston Hotel under the theme Bringing Health Research into Focus. The Conference sought to highlight research being conducted by the Ministry of Health, other institutions and individuals, and to facilitate discussions on national and regional research priorities, while providing an opportunity for health research networking. The original purpose has transitioned over the decade to the current objectives:

  1. To share the findings of health studies conducted by the Ministry of Health and Wellness and other institutions and individuals in Jamaica;
  2. To identify operational research with the potential to influence or be translated into policy;
  3. To facilitate special discussions and presentations that focus on the conference theme.


Conference Themes and Special Presentations

Sixteen (16) oral presentations were made in 2010 on the eight Caribbean Cooperation in Health (CCHIII) priorities. CCHIII priorities were used as the basis for the Conference theme up to 2013. Themes for more recent events have been sourced from a combination of local priorities, as well as feedback from participants. Table 2 summarizes activities over the decade. Special presentations have ranged from the value of research, to tuberculosis management, the epidemiology of the Chikungunya outbreak, health implications of the ageing population and the National Identification System and personal health information protection.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Sheila Campbell-Forrester (right) and former Environmental Health Advisor, Pan American Health Organisation, Dr Homero Silva examine posters at the inaugural National Health Research Conference in 2010. (Photo: JIS)


Support of the Conference

Early Conferences were held through the support of research partners including the Caribbean Health Research Council (now CARPHA) in 2010 and 2011, Population Services International – Caribbean in 2012, and the National Health Fund in 2013 and 2014. The Ministry of Health and Wellness took the strategic decision in 2015 to support the Conference in keeping with the policy priorities of the Ministry to strengthen health information systems and support evidence-based decision-making.


Growth of the Event

The Conference has grown by over four hundred percent (460%) over the decade. Chart 1 summarizes attendance by year. The Health Research Policy for the Caribbean (2009) includes (i) the promotion of intersectoral participation at all stages and levels of research for health and (ii) strengthening the cadre of professionals with the capacity to conceptualize, conduct, analyse, disseminate and translate the findings of various forms of research for health as strategies to strengthen health research systems. The event provides an opportunity for: enhanced collaboration among researchers, the forging of partnerships and obtaining information on and providing feedback on policy initiatives.


Chart 1                                   National Health Research Conference Attendance: 2010-2019


Recognition of High Quality Research

The Conference has awarded presenters for high quality research since the inception of the event. The number of prizes has grown from the best oral and poster presentations to include best student and most impactful presentation. The latter award was initiated to identify research papers that were most likely to influence policy and/or practice. The Secretariat is seeking to enhance knowledge translation and has facilitated opportunities for the findings of research prize winners to be showcased in other fora. Abstracts have been presented in the National Surveillance Bulletin, while the research of prize awardees from 2017-2019have been highlighted in JIS ‘Think Tanks’ and disseminated in newspapers, online media and radio.

Dr. Karen Webster-Kerr, Principal Medical Officer, National Epidemiologist, posing with 2018 research prize awardees


Examples of Research of Awardees Highlighted in News Media 2017-2019


Research Prize Awardees Highlighted in 2020 News Media


Thank You!!

We are grateful to our partners at CARPHA, the Pan American Health Organization, University of the West Indies, University of Technology and Northern Caribbean University, who have assisted with planning and judging abstracts and presentations, brought greetings, made presentations and provided support through attendance at the Conference over the years. We wish to particularly recognize participants who have consistently supported the Conference since its inception. The event has grown into an activity that stakeholders look forward to and plan on attending. Finally, we wish to thank our hardworking Secretariat whose seamless efforts behind the scenes have made this Conference, and the successes over the decade possible.

View of the Audience from the 2018 National Health Research Conference


National Health Research Conference Over the Decade: 2010-2019

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
1.       127 Attendees

2.       Theme

Bringing Health Research Into Focus

3.       16 Oral Presentations

4.       Special Presentations

§  The Status of Health Research in the Caribbean

§  Good Ethical Practice

1.     62 Attendees

2.      Theme:

Spotlight on Mental

Health and Chronic Non

-Communicable Diseases

3.      8 Oral and 5 Poster Presentations

4.     Special Presentation:

§  The Value of Research








1.     199 Attendees

2.     Theme:

Health Systems

Strengthening and


3.     18 Oral and 5 Poster Presentations

4.     Special Presentations:

§  Health Systems Research

§  Evaluating Jamaica’s response to HIV/AIDS

§  Highlights of the 2012 National KAPB on HIV/AIDS

§  Challenges and/or Opportunities for Integrating HIV Care into Primary Health Care

1.     198 Attendees

2.     Theme:

Environmental Health and Communicable Diseases

3.     16 Oral and 2 Poster Presentations

4.     Special Presentations:

§  Tuberculosis Management -Regional Perspective

§  Reporting Practices of Physicians to the National Surveillance Unit

§  The Public Health (Tobacco Control) Regulations, 2013

§  Application of Technology in the Evaluation and Reporting on Jamaican Waste-Water Treatment Plants

1.     213 Participants

2.     Theme:

Healthy Individual,

Healthy Community,

Healthy Nation

3.     14 Oral and 8  Poster Presentations

4.     Special Presentations:

§  Chronic Disease and Nutrition,

§  The Right to Food:

Friend or Foe?

§  Every Person is the author of their health story: Act now or pay later


2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
1.     339 Attendees

2.     Theme

Invest now and start reaping your health rewards

3.      13 Oral and 9 Poster presentations

4.      Special Presentations

§  The Epidemiology of the Chikungunya Outbreak

§  Climate Change and Health

§  Investing in Violence and Injury Prevention. A Caribbean Imperative

§  Bold (JA) Preliminary Data

§  An Ageing Population. The Health Implications

§  The Health Impact of Climate Change (Panel)

1.   323 Attendees

2.   Theme

Health is a Relay: Traditional and Non-Traditional Tracks

3.   19 Oral and 33 Poster Presentations

4.   Special Presentations

§  The Health Benefits of Physical Activity Throughout the Life Course

§  Development of a National Research Agenda

§  Traditional Versus Conventional Medicine

426 Attendees


Exercising Mind and Body: Supportive Environments for Healthy Living

16 Oral and 25 Poster Presentations

Special Presentations

Special Presentations

§  Essential National Health Research Committee

§  Sustainable Development

§  Mental Health

§  Healthy Worker, Happy Worker – Myth or Goal

1.       628 Attendees

2.       Theme

Don’t Wish for It, Work for It!

3.       18 Oral and 33 Poster Presentations

4.       Special Presentations

§  Jamaica Health and Lifestyle Survey Findings

§  Formatting Abstracts for Submission to the National Health Research Conference

§  Special Presentation on the National Identification System (NIDS) and Personal Health Information Protection (PHIP)

§  The Role of the Church in NCD Prevention

1.      712 Attendeed

2.      Theme

Wellness Now: Embracing Change Together


3.      23 Oral and 43 Poster presentations

4.      Special Presentations

·       Obstetric Issues Affecting Women

·       Sustainability of Human Resource Health (HRH) in the Caribbean

·       The Study on the Migration of HRH in the Caribbean

·       Models of Circular Migration

·       HRH within the Policy Context