Dr Isaac Brown has a passion to serve
PORT MARIA, St Mary:
It is very rare in the public sector to find an individual about whom no one has a bad word to say, however, the parish manager of St Mary Health Services, Dr Isaac Brown, falls neatly into this category.
Brown is a friendly and jovial operator whose warm smile and easy-going demeanour creates an atmosphere of serenity that must be of huge benefit to those he works with in the highly pressured environment of public health.
Speaking with Rural Xpress last week, Brown, who comes from the rural district of Rock River in St Mary, explained that his enthusiasm for life and optimistic outlook are rooted in the many lessons he learnt as a child.
He said: "I come from very humble beginnings. My father was a farmer. He was unable to read, but was a very brilliant man. My mother could read and write a little, but wasn't academic. She was a higgler who travelled to the markets in Kingston to sell the produce. They had 12 of us, but unfortunately 10 died, so my sister and I are the only two left.
"Originally, I wanted to be a soldier, but my mom discouraged me, and so I looked at my uncle who was a public-health inspector. Around 1979, I did an apprenticeship period and came into the system as a public-health inspector while my uncle was still working.
"My ambition was always to achieve my PhD, whether it was in theology or another field, and so every opportunity I could get, I studied. At one stage, I was the first public-health inspector in Jamaica with a Bachelor of Science degree.
BEING A SERVANT
"One of the things that drove me into public health was a passion to serve. I've always enjoyed being a servant, and this is one way to reach many persons through the hospitals and health centre facilities they come to. Also, I realised that I have a natural skill and ability to counsel, so after I did my master's degree at the University of West Indies in public health, I did a PhD in clinical counselling."
Brown, who is also a pastor, believes that with hard work and dedication, it is possible to achieve even the most far-fetched objective, irrespective of your background or financial circumstances.
He explained: "Poverty is not an excuse for failure. If you want to do well in life, you have to be determined, stay focused, and do something about it. It's one thing to have the mind to achieve something, but it's quite another to really get up and put things in place to actually get it done.
"Today's youngsters have a lot more opportunities than I had during my time, so I encourage and tell them they can make it. It doesn't matter what ability you have, you can make it. The race of life is not necessarily about who reaches the finish line first.
"In the race of life, the most important thing is to finish. You may start in a class with several persons who may move ahead and reach the finish line before you, but the most important thing is that you reach the line, too."