Kingstown, St Vincent — The lifestyles of the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines and the other OECS member states are expected to come under the microscope through a proposed health and human performance programme from the Queensborough Community College in New York.
According to Dr Tony Monahan, “This proposed HHP programme would be a service project between the health physical education and dance department professors at Queensborough Community College, and interested Vincentians in St Vincent and the Grenadines.”
The HPP programme is expected to cover such topics as health and behaviour, exercise science, nutrition, and personal training. Upon completion, the programme participants would earn a health and fitness trainer certificate.
Added to this, Vincentians who participate in the programme and are interested in health-related professions “would be invited to New York for additional training and experience”, which would be provided by the Queensborough Community College HPED department, as well as other local institutions.
Speaking of the rationale in formulating such a programme, Monahan said they “recognized the need to combat the growing epidemic of cardiovascular disease-related chronic illness that has affected our communities.
“These risk factors make health education a high priority. In the last three years, our department has been restructured to emphasise prevention of chronic diseases with a series of concentrations such as health promotion and disease prevention, exercise science, and nutrition.
“These programmes have been extremely popular with our students, as the number of our health-related majors is on the rise.”
It has been recognized that St Vincent and the Grenadines, like other OECS countries, is affected by the epidemic of chronic diseases. According to the World Health Organisation 2011 Report, 76 percent of all deaths in St Vincent and the Grenadines are caused by cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Additionally, the government of St Vincent and the Grenadines recently made fighting chronic diseases a health initiative. As is the case in New York, there appears to be a need for preventative health programmes in St Vincent and the Grenadines and the wider OECS sub-region.
Monahan pointed out during a lecture to students of the Aganar Programme, “Most chronic diseases are preventable. With informed health decisions, citizens can reduce the incidence of chronic diseases, thus improving the quality of life.”
He pointed out that the mission of the HHP Programme aims to raise awareness and action regarding healthy behaviours, nutrition, and physical activity, giving participants an opportunity to work towards improving the health and wellness of their community.
The St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College (SVGCC) is seen as a prospective partner for this project. A review of the SVGCC programmes shows that there are no programmes in health, exercise science, or personal training, with one nutrition course listed for nursing majors.
Monahan said that Queensborough Community College plans to offer the HHP pilot programme, while laying the groundwork for further health-related work with its participants.
“We also hope such a project would commence a working relationship between QCC and SVGCC, which would commence a working relationship between QCC and SVGCC, which could lead to further collaborations, internships, and student exchanges,” he said.
Under the programme, Queensborough Community College will volunteer their time to travel to St Vincent and the Grenadines, to conduct the approximately 30-hour programme.
Most of the programme materials will be provided by the participating QCC instructors, some of which will be sent to the participants ahead of time.
Upon completion of the HPP programme, one or two potential leaders could be identified to further their training in New York.
According to Monahan, “For this, all of our HPED professors will collaborate to provide our Vincentian partners with further training and experience in our department, as well as other related departments, programmes, and institutions.”