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 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).
Vincent Atkins – Trade Policy Advisor – Joined HCC in 2014.
Mrs. Nicole Foster – Policy Advisor
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.
Nicole Foster – Policy Advisor – Joined HCC in 2015.
Pierre Kevin Cooke Jnr. – Youth Voices Technical Advisor
Pierre K. Cooke (Jnr.) 19 years old is one of the leading youth and health advocates in Barbados and the Caribbean region. He is in his first year of law school and is working towards becoming a game changer in the field of international policy. He also interns with Attorney-at-Law, Faith Marshall- Harris, Barbados’ Children’s Rights Champion and a member of United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child.
Pierre has represented the youth on many platforms to share their perspectives and opinions on matters concerning NCDs. His work has been recognised by both local and international organisations as he presented at various UNICEF Activate Talks sessions and represented Barbados at the Global NCD Forum on Children and Youth in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. Later this year he will again be representing Barbados at the One Young World Leaders’ Summit.
In his country, Pierre volunteers with the Healthy Caribbean Coalition. A regional organisation and leader in the fight against NCD’s in the Caribbean. He is also a member of the Youth Coalition against NCD’s in Barbados.
Even at his age, Pierre has been a champion and emerging global leader and continues to lead the fight against NCDs and challenges affecting youth in his region.
There should be nothing done for the youth, without the youth.
Pierre Kevin Cooke Jnr. – Youth Voices Technical Advisor – Joined HCC in 2019.
Dr. Christina Howitt – Physical Activity Advisor
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.
Christine Howitt – Physical Activity Advisor – Joined HCC in 2016.
Dr. Rohan Maharaj – Alcohol Policy Advisor
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.
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.
Rohan Maharaj – Alcohol Policy Advisor – Joined HCC in 2015.
Mrs. Barbara McGaw – Tobacco Control Advisor
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 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.
Barbara McGaw – Tobacco Control Policy Advisor – Joined HCC in 2017* (*Informally since 2008)
Tara Lisa Persaud – Our Views Our Voices Technical Advisor
Tara Lisa is a health advocate and a international development professional who has spent the past 18 years working to improve wellbeing and increase opportunities for Caribbean people by supporting sustainable social and economic development.
She has worked with governments, multilateral organisations, development institutions, and civil society on a variety of issues, with a belief that lasting transformation requires a mutli-disciplinary approach. Specific areas of focus include business climate reform, programme design, public policy, aid effectiveness, program management, gender equality, donor coordination, and monitoring and evaluation.
Over the past 6 years Tara Lisa worked with the Inter-American Development Bank on the Compete Caribbean Program, leading over 30 projects with government agencies around the Caribbean, aimed at improving investment and business facilitation. Prior to that she worked with the United Nations Development Programme, UNIFEM, UNFPA, UNICEF, and the University of the West Indies. She also led the research and negotiations for the V Summit of the Americas and the 2009 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting on behalf of the host country, Trinidad and Tobago. Emerging from this 2009 CHOGM, the Heads issued a Statement on Commonwealth Action to Combat NCDs, November 29th 2009 which was one of the catalysts for the first UN High Level Meeting on NCDs in 2011. In 2010, Tara Lisa worked on an evaluation of the Caribbean Regional NCD Surveillance System with IDB, CARPHA and UWI.
Tara Lisa holds degrees from Wellesley College and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). In 2015 she graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (NY) as a health coach where she focused on fighting chronic diseases. Tara Lisa is also a cancer survivor and has been fighting the disease since 2014.
In addition to drawing from her vast and varied professional experience, as Our Views Our Voices Technical Advisor, Tara Lisa will help the HCC to ensure that the perspective of people living with NCDs is integrated into all aspects of our work.
Tara Lisa Persaud – Our Views Our Voices Technical Advisor – Joined HCC in 2017.
Professor Alafia Samuels – Policy and Practice Advisor
T. Alafia Samuels MBBS, MPH, PhD, Honorary Professor, Caribbean Institute for Health Research, University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica, is the Director of the George Alleyne Chronic Disease Research Centre, a unit of The UWI’s Caribbean Institute for Health Research, University of the West Indies. She is a medical doctor, trained at UWI Mona. She also holds a MPH (Masters in Public Health) and a PhD in Chronic Disease Epidemiology, both degrees awarded with honors from Johns Hopkins University.
She is an appointed member of the multi-sectoral Barbados National NCD (Non Communicable Diseases) Commission and was the principal author of the Barbados Ministry of Health Strategic Plan of Action for NCDs 2015-2019, and the CARICOM/PAHO Strategic Plan of Action for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases.
Her research interests include policy and practice in NCD prevention and control, clinical quality of care and evaluation of NCD programmes.
Professor Alafia Samuels – Policy and Practice Advisor – Joined HCC in 2017.