Bartlett appoints pandemics coordinator for Global Resilience Centre

Bartlett appoints pandemics coordinator for Global Resilience Centre

Friday, April 03, 2020

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Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett has appointed Dr Elaine Williams as Coordinator of Pandemics at the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre (GTRCM) — a move he described as the first key step to dealing with disruptive forces in tourism.

Minister Bartlett made the announcement recently during a forum on Disruptive Forces in Tourism held at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston.

“The move comes at a period where global pandemics, such as the coronavirus, threaten the lives and livelihoods of so many and there is need to build capacity for clinical resilience to mitigate against them. The need for clinical resilience is not just about this current virus but for all other epidemiological issues that will affect us all,” he stated.

“Dr Williams understands the whole business of building clinical resilience. We have brought her on-board to track the pandemic and to work with the medical teams locally and those internationally. She will be connecting with the World Health Organization and other agencies, but primarily with countries that are highly tourism dependent such as the Caribbean, to build new arrangements that can mitigate the impact,” the minister continued.

Williams recently retired from the University Hospital of the West Indies and The University of the West Indies (UWI) where she served in the capacity of Consultant Anatomical Pathologist and senior lecturer for over 40 years.

She has experience in viral epidemiology and was co-investigator on the Human T Cell Lymphotropic Virus 1 Research Project conducted locally in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, in the United States.

As the pandemics coordinator, Williams will work with key stakeholders in health to build clinical resilience in the industry by researching and gathering data that can be valuable to helping countries make decisions about the kind of institutional capacity that they must build in order to detect, mitigate, and manage the strains when they come.

First announced during the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Global Conference on Sustainable Tourism in 2017, the GTRCM — which is the first of its kind — is based at The UWI, Mona Campus. It is a tourism resource centre dedicated to conducting policy-relevant research and analysis on destination preparedness, management, and recovery due to disruptions and crises that impact tourism and threaten economies and livelihoods.

It involves collaboration with domestic and international policymakers and practitioners at all levels of government, private, and non-profit sectors and academia.

According to the minister, more people will be employed at the centre to deal with other disruptive forces, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, cybercrime, among others.

— Abbion Robinson

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