Above: Dominica’s Dr Carissa Etienne (Photo: PAHO)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Dominica’s Dr Carissa Etienne has been elected the new director of the Pan American Health Organization.
Etienne was chosen by PAHO Member States during the 28th Pan American Sanitary Conference in Washington, DC this week.
“Our region is strong —we now see political stability and economic prosperity in the region at unprecedented levels,” she said. “At the same time, there are millions of people, some of them in our wealthiest member states, that do not have access to the social determinants of health or the health care they desperately need.”
She said her vision was for a region free of inequality, where “people have access to healthy social determinants and environments that allow them to live long, dignified, healthy and productive lives.”
That includes access to universal health services without “fear of being impoverished,” she said.
She has most recently served as the assistant director general for health systems and services of the World Health Organization in Geneva.
Etienne had previously been the PAHO’s assistant director at the organization’s regional office for the Americas.
“Some people have called me a reformer, a change agent,” she said. “I accept these titles and I hope to take PAHO forward in new and challenging directions, working hand in hand with PAHO’s able and dedicated staff.”
She has also previously served as Dominica’s Chief Medical Officer, among other positions.