UWI Faculty member installed as president of the International Federation of Environmental Health

UWI Faculty member installed as president of the International Federation of Environmental Health

Leading environmental health expert based at The UWI Mona, Dr. Henroy Scarlett has been installed as president of the International Federation of Environmental Health (IFEH). Dr. Scarlett is the first Jamaican and only Caribbean national to ever hold this global position as well as the third person in the region of the Americas to hold this position.

The installation ceremony was hosted on August 22, 2022, during the Annual General Meeting and Council Meeting held at the World Trade Center in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. As a part of his many duties as president, Dr Scarlett will chair the Board of Directors, of the IFEH and will serve a two-year term (2022-2024).

Commenting on the installation during his acceptance speech, Dr Scarlett said, "Strong and decisive leadership must be provided at all levels of our organization, local, national, regional, and globally to advocate for appropriate policy alternatives, sound regulatory frameworks, developing the environmental workforce, public awareness, education and participation in environmental health activities, and the political will and provision of resources to address growing environmental health challenges".

As a lecturer in the Department of Community Health and Psychiatry and a member of the Jamaica Association of Public Health Inspectors (JAPHI), Dr Scarlett was qualified to sit on the Board of Directors of the IFEH. He became president, after serving the previous two years as president-elect.

The IFEH is an organization whose full members are national associations representing the interests of environmental health professionals throughout the world. The Federation works to disseminate knowledge concerning environmental health and promote cooperation between countries where environmental health issues are transboundary. The organization also promotes the interchange of people working in this sector and the exchange of members' publications of a scientific and technical nature.

Amongst other things, the Federation, he informed, seeks to provide means of exchanging information and experience on environmental health, to hold congresses and meetings to discuss subjects relevant to environmental health science and administration, to represent the interests of environmental health to state agencies, national governments, and international organisations and to promote field studies of environmental health control.

Speaking after his return to Jamaica, Dr Scarlett noted that his ascension to this important post will enhance The UWI brand and will provide opportunities for The UWI to collaborate with the JAPHI and IFEH in projects involving environmental health at the local, national, regional and global levels.

During the recent Annual General Meeting and Council Meeting of the IFEH, Dr Scarlett said the members “deliberated, debated, and discussed numerous issues which are vital to our existence as an organization. We need to work together to translate our talk into actions that will bring tangible results.”

The IFEH, he said, is the premier global environmental health organization, and we, therefore, need to position it to assume that pre-eminent role.

“Much work needs to be done and I call upon all member associations and affiliates to be united in purpose and not be distracted by those who seek to benefit and not willing to make hard sacrifices. We are at a crossroad and must move forward in a united manner in the right direction," Dr Scarlett said.

Dr Scarlett further stated that “the World Health Organization (WHO), tells us that about 24% of all preventable health conditions have their origin in the environment and almost all diseases have an environmental contribution. We need to advocate for a greater proportion of global health budgets to be spent on environmental health if we are serious about preventing ill-health conditions and promoting health and wellness in the population."