Special Advisors

Dr. C. James Hospedales – Senior Special Advisor

Dr. C. James Hospedales

Dr. C. James Hospedales is the Executive Director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency since February 2013. Dr. Hospedales is a medical graduate of the University of the West Indies. From 2006-2012, Dr. Hospedales was responsible for the PAHO program for prevention and control of chronic noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). He played a key role in increasing priority and resources for NCDs, including helping organize the CARICOM and UN Summits on NCDs. He pioneered the Pan American Forum for Action on NCDs, which brings together governments, civil society, academia & business. He has also been a champion for civil society involvement in efforts to improve health, and helped catalyze the formation of the Healthy Caribbean Coalition. He is a strong supporter of the Healthy Caribbean Coalition.


Dr. Rohan Maharaj – Alcohol Policy Advisor

Dr. Rohan Maharaj

Dr. Rohan Maharaj is a Senior Lecturer in Family Medicine and a Fellow of the Caribbean College of Family Physicians. He coordinates the postgraduate program in Family Medicine at the Faculty of Medical Sciences, St. Augustine, which has trained over 100 family physicians. His main research interest has been mental health and chronic disease in the Caribbean primary care population. This work has lead to over 40 journal articles, many of which were summarized in the 2009 book ‘Psychosocial Issues In West Indian Primary Health Care’. He is currently active in clinical practice, an editor with the Caribbean Medical Journal,  and is also the principal investigator (Trinidad site) on the Eastern Caribbean Health Outcomes Research Network (ECHORN) which is a 5 year cohort study in collaboration with Yale University.

As an extension of his interest in mental health and chronic disease, Dr. Maharaj has been working since 2012-14 on alcohol issues in Trinidad and Tobago and with the Healthy Caribbean Coalition on alcohol policy in the English-speaking Caribbean.


 Mrs. Nicole Foster – Policy Advisor

Mrs. Nicole Foster

Mrs. Foster is a former international trade diplomat with expertise in international law, international trade and international organisations. As Policy Advisor, Mrs. Foster will provide legal advice and comments on the different projects the HCC is engaged with, as appropriate, based on her expertise and professional commitments as an employee of the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados. Mrs. Foster’s focus is primarily on international trade policy, international trade negotiations and the intersection between trade and health, but will not necessarily be limited to those areas. Mrs. Foster is acting in a volunteer capacity, offering her services and expertise as public service.


Vincent Atkins – Trade Policy Advisor

Vincent Atkins

Vincent Atkins is Trade Policy and Technical Advisor to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Less Developed Countries (LDCs) , Office of Trade Negotiations, CARICOM Secretariat, in Barbados. He has been involved in the negotiations of international trade agreements since 2001, representing the Caribbean Community in several negotiating fora in the area of agricultural trade.

Mr Atkins’ current responsibilities include coordination of market access in goods negotiations and conduct of technical and analytical studies on trade issues of particular interest to CARICOM LDCs. Since 2007 Mr Atkins has also undertaken work related to assessing the implications of global trade policies for the control and prevention of obesity, particularly for developing countries. He is a co-author of the book,” Food, Trade, Diet and Health”, published by Wildey-Blackwell in 2010. In November Mr Atkins was appointed as a Commissioner to the Lancet Commission on Obesity established jointly by The Lancet Journal, World Obesity Federation, University of Auckland and George Washington University to stimulate action and strengthen accountability systems for the implementation of agreed recommendations to reduce obesity and its related inequalities. Mr Atkins’ contribution to the Commission will be in the fields of law, agriculture and trade.

Mr Atkins has a Bachelors degree in Economics with First Class Honours from the University of the West Indies (1988), an MSc in Agricultural Economics from the University of Florida (1991), Gainesville, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of London (2007). He also holds a diploma for graduates in International Relations from the University of London (2011).


Mrs. Barbara McGaw – Tobacco Control Advisor

Mrs. Barbara McGaw

Mrs. McGaw has informally advised the HCC since its inception on all matters related to tobacco control.

Since June 2016, Mrs. McGaw has been volunteering as tobacco adviser to the JCTC. Prior to that she was the Project Manager Tobacco Control for the Heart Foundation of Jamaica/Jamaica Coalition for Tobacco Control (JCTC) and successfully managed the tobacco control project grants since 2008.

Mrs McGaw’s background is primarily science based. Her academic background includes a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Science from the University of the West Indies (UWI) and further studies with a postgraduate Management Diploma from a Leicester University (UK) and courses in Project Management. Mrs McGaw has also completed leadership and certificate courses through the Institute for Global Tobacco Control, John Hopkins School of Public Health. The online course Global Tobacco Control: Learning From the experts in 2010, the Global Tobacco Control Leadership Programme in 2010 and the Global Tobacco Control Certificate Programme in 2012.

Mrs McGaw has presented at several regional and international conferences on regional project successes in tobacco control, including the 4th Latin America and Caribbean Conference Tobacco Or Health San Jose Costa Rica March 2014, the International Conference on Public Health Priorities in the 21st Century, Delhi, India September 2013, the 15th World Conference on Tobacco or Health, Singapore, March 2012 and the 2nd SRNT IAHF Conference Mexico City Mexico October, 2009, the 14th World Conference on Tobacco or Health, Mumbai India, March 2009.


Dr. Christina Howitt –  Physical Activity Advisor

Dr. Christina Howitt

Christina Howitt earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacology from the University of Bristol in 2003, and then her Master of Science degree in Control of Infectious Disease from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 2005.

She worked as a Clinical Trial Manager with the MRC Clinical Trials Unit in London, before returning to Barbados in 2009 to join the CDRC as a Lecturer in Data Science and PhD student. She managed the Health of the Nation Survey, which  investigated non-communicable diseases and their risk factors in the Barbadian population. Her PhD work focuses on physical activity and metabolic health.

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