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CAR Conference in St Lucia was a resounding success

Image of Conference participants

PRESS RELEASE – THE 9th annual scientific symposium of the Caribbean Association for Rheumatology (CAR) has been hailed a resounding success.

Over 100 participants from throughout the world attended the symposium, which also saw the election of a new executive.

Image of Conference participants
Conference participants

The conference featured internationally-acclaimed speakers, national research presentations and an ultrasound workshop, among other activities.

Among the highlights of the event was a free public lecture by renowned rheumatologist, Dr. Carter Thorne, who has pioneered a cost-effective model of rheumatic care in Ontario, Canada.

The public lecture attracted over 100 participants, with 79 delegates attending the rest of the meeting.

Some 41 of the participants came from overseas.

The conference also featured a musculoskeletal ultrasound course geared towards enhancing practitioners’ diagnostic and therapeutic capabilities and allowing state of the art management of patients in the Caribbean.

This course was facilitated by experts from the Scottish Rheumatology ultrasound group (SRUG), which collaborated with CAR for the second consecutive year.

International icon, Professor Eon Nigel Harris, delivered his inaugural lecture.

Professor Harris, along with colleagues at St. Thomas Hospital, London, is responsible for the description and test for a condition called Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome in 1984. He was awarded Fellow of The Caribbean association for rheumatology in 2017 for his contribution to rheumatology.

The symposium also featured regional research and presentations on how to approach clinical registries and research to benefit Caribbean people, a presentation on telemedicine and a workshop on how to provide care in the many Caribbean territories with no rheumatologist.

Local health professionals got an opportunity to learn about the most common and important rheumatic diseases with emphasis on early diagnosis and a patient-centred team approach to achieve the best outcome for our people.

CAR Founding President, Dr. Amanda King, reported that attendees expressed extreme satisfaction with the experience. She commented that the presentations were of the highest quality, the organization seamless and the hospitality of the St. Lucian people tremendous.

Following the Conference, CAR held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) and elected the following directors:

President – Dr. Cindy Flower (Barbados), Vice President – Dr. Sharon Dowell (Washington DC), Treasurer – Dr. Nicole Johnson (Calgary), Secretary – Dr. Aurore FifiMah (Calgary), as well as Professor Eon Nigel Harris (St. Lucia), Dr. Amanda King (St. Lucia) and Dr. Nagy Bakir (Curacao).

Meanwhile, CAR’s 10th scientific meeting will be held in Curacao in May 2019.

The St Lucia conference, held at Coco Resorts from May 3rd to 5th 2018, would not have been so successful were it not for the voluntarism of so many — the speakers and the organisers, as well as those who donated time, effort and gifts — and the many sponsors.
The Caribbean Association for Rheumatology is committed to improving the care of patients with rheumatic diseases in the Caribbean. It is a professional organisation with the primary goal of uniting rheumatologists and allied health professionals in the advancement of rheumatology through collaborative research, education and advocacy at local and regional levels.

Rheumatic diseases, the most common being osteoarthritis, gout, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, are a major cause of disability and have a significant impact on individuals during the most productive years of their lives. They are the leading cause of disability over the age of 50.

The CAR knows that early diagnosis, a patient-centred team approach with collaboration amongst all health professionals, patient empowerment through self-management programmes and support from understanding family, friends, community, in St. Lucia.

The St. Lucia Arthritis and Lupus Association make a tremendous difference to quality of life, personal expenditure and health care cost for the country.

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