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Prof. Minerva Thame


 The Faculty of Medical Sciences (FMS) is a diverse Faculty offering seven (7) dynamic undergraduate professional programmes - Dentistry, Nursing, Medicine, Diagnostic Imaging, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy and Bachelors of Basic Medical Sciences - that are inter related. None of these professions can survive without each other to deliver a holistic approach in caring for our patients and clients.  We also offer postgraduate programmes such as Professional certificates, Diplomas, Masters of Sciences and Doctorate programmes.

As we continue to grapple with the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought, we as a Faculty will persevere, think outside of the box, re-invent ourselves and pivot as we strive to survive. These obstacles should be seen as opportunities. The FMS has perhaps been the hardest hit Faculty in The UWI, as many of us work on the front line, deal with very sick patients, some of us have contracted COVID-19 and most, if not all of us, know at least one person who has demised from this virus.  Despite these difficult times, our Faculty has been able to hold its core business together. This includes teaching our students, conducting research and delivering service to the Jamaican population. We will no doubt continue to have challenges, but as a resilient group, we will continue to find ways to execute our duties and responsibilities. 

Though our members of staff are stretched emotionally and physically as they continue to face significant adversities with many experiencing "burn-out" syndrome they continue to give their all.  Through our commitment and dedication, the FMS members of staff have had to re-evaluate and find creative ways to ensure that it continues to deliver high-quality service to ensure we meet our strategic goals and objectives. Many of our scheduled timetables had been disrupted; we have had to suspend classes on more than one occasion and converted to emergency remote teaching to deliver our lectures online in short order, and become au-fait with a virtual paradigm which many of us were not familiar with.  Nevertheless, despite all the adversities we continue to soldier on, exploring ways to make our operations more efficient, as, in the end, we will emerge a stronger and more effective group.

To you our valued students, we take pride in assisting you in ensuring that you realise your dreams.  Whether you are a new or returning student, it is indeed our pleasure to continue to provide that avenue through which you can continue to strive to achieve your goals. This we will do while embracing our newest members of the student body to join us on this journey with exciting times ahead.  As university students you are charged to become critical thinkers. Analyse, synthesize, evaluate the information given, and develop a querying mind, have rich discussions and apply logical reasoning in identifying and solving problems.

We know you will work hard academically, but I would like to encourage you to become involved in extracurricular activities. It is important for you to find time to do other things besides your chosen programme. The UWI has many clubs and societies for you to partake in and I hope you take up these opportunities. Attending university is much more than what you can get in a classroom, therefore, I dare to say what you will learn outside the classroom may be more impactful than what you learn in a classroom.  The UWI is the place for you to shine, the place where you will develop long life skills.

As you chart your journey forward you must enhance your skills in organization and time management. These are skills that will not only serve you well in the academic sphere but skills that you will learn to apply to life overall. You must learn to balance your academic life with your social life and so you need to find balance as this is important to your mental health. Also, on this new journey you will meet new friends that will become you lifelong friends. Treasure these friendships.

Unfortunately, our Jamaican dollar continues to devalue, creating challenges for our students especially in their ability to pay their tuition fees. Times are uncertain, and we remain in a state of fluidity as often, our plans have had to be changed with what is happening around us. We acknowledge that our students are traversing difficult times, but we will work together to find solutions.

Therefore, as we welcome you our students, and salute our hard working members of staff, I take this opportunity to remind us that The UWI is to place to shine. According to the Times Higher Education, World University Rankings, you are at the number one university in the Caribbean, the top 2% in Latin America and top 4% in the world.  As our Motto states “Oriens Ex Occidente Lux” “Light rising from the West”. This is our place to let our light shine!

Professor Minerva Thame
Dean, Faculty of Medical Sciences


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