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Univeristy of West Indies Medical School Information

A Brief History of Jamaica by The World Factbook 2005

Jamaica gained full independence within the British Commonwealth in 1962. Deteriorating economic conditions during the 1970s led to recurrent violence and a drop off in tourism. Elections in 1980 saw the democratic socialists voted out of office. Political violence marred elections during the 1990s. Read More

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University of the West Indies Medical School

The Faculty of Medical Sciences (FMS), Mona, Jamaica began its distinguished history as the principal institution for medical education in the Commonwealth Caribbean in 1948. Founded as the University College of the West Indies, under the auspices of the University of London, the Faculty of Medical Sciences has the distinction of being the first established faculty of what later became the University of the West Indies (UWI). In 1967, the Faculty expanded to incorporate clinical teaching programmes at Cave Hill in Barbados and St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago (where the other two main UWI campuses are located). In 1989, the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex was opened at Mount Hope in Trinidad and Tobago. This facility houses UWI’s second medical school as well as schools of Dentistry, Pharmacy, Veterinary Medicine, and Advanced Nursing Education.

Mona Aqueduct Since its inception in 1948, when the first class of 33 medical students was accepted, the Faculty at Mona has grown to include programmes in nursing and medical technology as well as medicine. Originally called the Faculty of Medicine, this name was changed in 1984 to the Faculty of Medical Sciences to reflect the expanded curriculum.

Today, the University of the West Indies as a whole, has the unique status of being a truly international university, serving as the principal tertiary educational institution for 14 Caribbean countries.

The Faculty of Medical Sciences plays a vital role in the training of health care professionals, particularly doctors, for the entire region.

The FMS has gained international recognition for the exceptionally high standard of its medical programme, which qualifies approximately 110 doctors annually. Over 60 postgraduate degrees and diplomas are also awarded each year. Its achievements include internationally recognized research in areas such as (1) Sickle-cell Anaemia (2) Human T-Lymphotropic Virus (HTLV1) (3) the development of the drug ‘Canasol’, derived from the Cannabis plant, used in treating Glaucoma and (4) Veno-occlusive disease of the liver vomiting sickness of Jamaica, then an entirely new disease of the liver which was discovered in Jamaica and subsequently identified elsewhere in the world (5) The Tropical Medicine Research Institute (TMRI), comprising of the Tropical Metabolism Research Unit (TMRU), The Sickle Cell Unit (SCU), the Chronic Disease Research Centre (CDRC), and the Health Economic Unit (HEU), were established by the University of the West Indies in October 1999 to increase the output of research in major areas affecting the health of regional peoples, the number of trained research scientists working in health and to facilitate the uptake of research into policy, programmes and practices.

The FMS follows the British system of education and is known for its fairly rigorous medical training programme - which has produced some of the best doctors in the Caribbean region, and several others who have distinguished themselves in their respective fields in North America and Europe. There are approximately 130 highly qualified Faculty staff members, the majority of whom are graduates of the FMS, UWI.

Faculty Buildings

The Faculty has 8 departments, Accident & Emergency, Basic Medical Sciences (comprising of Anatomy, Biochemistry, Pharmacology and Physiology) Community Health & Psychiatry, Medicine, Microbiology, Obstetrics, Gynaecology & Child Health, Pathology, Surgery, Radiology, Anaesthesia & Intensive Care. The Basic Medical Sciences (BMS), Department of Advanced Nursing (DANE) and Community Health are located on the campus whilst the 5 clinical departments are situated on the Northern end of the University, during along with the FMS Administrative offices and the 550-bed University Hospital of the West Indies. Other facilities include (i) a medical library equipped with the major medical journals and a computerized records system with links through the University’s network to Internet, Medline, etc. (ii) a science library which houses the Natural Sciences and pre-clinical collections (iii) The HD Hopwood Education Centre in the support of IT and its uses in transfer of knowledge to students, (iv) West Indian Medical Journal (v) 2 clinical and 2 pre-clinical lecture theatres (vi) student lounges (vii) a medical museum.

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