MOU Signing Between AUC and Island Government

MOU Signing Between AUC and Island Government

January 8, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen good afternoon,

Allow me first to acknowledge the presence of some honorable guests here with us. Interim Dean of Basic Sciences Dr. Hiroko Joshida, Associate Dean of Student Affairs Dr. Ron Testa, Associate Dean of Medical Education Dr. Thackery Grey, the entire AUC faculty, and attorney at law Cynthia Holden who is here with us today from AUC’s coporate offices in Florida.

Dignataries from our sister half of the Island…..

Today we mark a significant and historic moment for the people of St. Maarten. The Memorandum of Understanding that will be signed today between the Island Territory of St. Maarten and the American University of the Caribbean will re-enforce that high quality healthcare starts with healthcare professionals working together as partners. 

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As partners our shared mission is to improve the health and health care of St. Maarten’s residents and our goals of community engagement, health improvement, research and education can be most effectively realized. If we are to be successful, the secret of this success will be our close cooperation.

It is indeed a great honor for me to be present here at this memorable event. It is an occasion that we have long been awaiting. There has been a build up to the signing of this Memorandum of Understanding through numerous discussions that have been held between our two entities. I know that this occasion and the discussions that we will subsequently have, will bear the fruits that we have desired for so long.

In addition to the working relationship between government and AUC, the benefits of the research possibilities that come with this MOU should not be underestimated. The team from the Island Government, though AUC’ research facilities, can focus on developing solutions throughout the whole cycle of care, from diagnosis to treatment, recovery and follow-up.

We will sign this MOU with AUC to focus on innovation, patient care and knowledge sharing. I would like to express appreciation to the persons who dedicated more than a year of work to see this agreement through to fruition. Drs. Jorien Wuitte and the personnel at Sector Health Care Affairs, Director of Community Services and External Affairs Dr. Sue Atchley and the man who can be considered the architect of this historic MOU Dr. Joe Ichter, Director of Public Health Initiative at AUC.

Besides being the first person I ever met with when I took office in 2007, Dr. Ichter is also the first Health Reasercher AUC has ever had. This is quite a legacy you will leave behind Dr. Ichter I thank you and congratulate you.

I also express many thanks on behalf of the Executive Council of St. Maarten, who have expectations as result of this MOU. We also hope that other tertiary educational institutions already on the island will be motivated to initiate research as well, be it in collaboration with Government or with other entities.

This is a clear indication of the fact that SXM is developing, maturing if you will in areas only dreamt about in the past. Beyond the research exposure and training, I look forward to strengthening ties between AUC and the Island Government through this program, and to a continued exchange of knowledge and talent.