“TO be recognised for an honorary degree is a humbling experience. To be recognised when you absolutely do not expect it leads to pause; pausing to reflect on exactly what you might have done to be deserving of such an accolade. As I reflected, I became more and more elated as I recognised that this is a victory for the disadvantaged with mental health challenges, those who are vulnerable and do not receive the care they need, those who may never seek help because their experiences are stigmatised and disregarded. This honorary degree is an endorsement that others can recognise the importance of addressing the psychosocial vulnerabilities that are the antecedents of mental illness, because that’s what my work is about. I am therefore very grateful to be recognised as a helper of mankind”.
This is the reaction of Dr Sandra Reid, deputy dean for clinical programmes and senior lecturer in psychiatry in the Faculty of Medical Sciences of The University of the West Indies (The UWI), St Augustine, on learning of her selection by the board of the University of the Commonwealth Caribbean ( UCC) to receive an honorary doctorate (honoris causa) from the institution.
Dr Reid will be conferred with the degree at the UCC’s graduation on July 17, along with Leighton MCKnight, CD, territory leader for PwC Jamaica and PwC’s Caribbean leader for diversity, equity and inclusion; and Godfrey Dyer, OJ, tourism titan and businessman.
A postgraduate specialist degree in psychiatry and a masters in public health from Johns Hopkins University, USA, prepared Dr Reid to excel in clinical service and research. She is an astute psychiatrist and researcher who has received several international research grants including a UWI-NGC research award and has published several articles and book chapters in mental health, public health and teaching and learning. Her passion however lies in student-centred teaching and learning.
Since 2003 Dr Reid has directed the Caribbean Institute on Addictive Disorders, a teaching institute that has trained over 2,500 Caribbean professionals and para-professionals in addictive disorders using a pedagogical approach based on the principles of a community of practice with a unique Caribbean cultural component.
She completed the certificate on teaching and learning in higher education from the University of British Columbia in 2012, and went on to earn the UWI/Guardian Life Premium Teaching award in 2012, and the Accreditation Council of Trinidad and Tobago Excellence in Teaching award in 2014.
Dr Reid has developed innovative approaches to clinical teaching in psychiatry which are highly rated among clinical students. She is a former member of the Board of the Accreditation Council of Trinidad and Tobago and Consultant for the Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education in Medicine and other Health Professions.
As deputy dean, Dr Reid has pioneered an expanded approach to academic advising and mentoring in the Faculty of Medical Sciences, establishing a system that addresses the multiple factors impacting academic performance among students, and sensitising faculty to the need for a holistic approach to student management. She continues to influence the development of policies and practices that support student-centredness.