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UCC on cutting edge of training

Published:Sunday | March 14, 2010 | 12:00 AM

  • UCC report

UCC on cutting edge of training

The Corporate Education and Management Services Solution Unit of the University College of the Caribbean (UCC) is a professional organisation dedicated to supporting learning professionals (adult education, training, course development, instructional technology, organisational development, human resources development).

In keeping with the mission of UCC to provide professionally focused tertiary education and training to individuals and organisations, the unit's central mission is to enhance the profession of management by enriching the professional development of both the public and private-sector entities that choose to participate in our programmes.

Organisations have become increasingly aware that training should not only satisfy its functional needs but should contribute to the human capital accumulation or skill formation. With this in mind, the UCC has developed a number of training programmes to satisfy the needs of organisations, individuals and the country on a whole.

Their overall programme design is built on design principles:

Client-centered Outcomes - This entails using the understanding of the business entity, its roles and functions and translating those functions and objectives into clear learning and action outcomes.

Flexibility and Responsiveness - The programmes are designed so that they are adaptable to the participants or organisational needs and their time frames.

Relevance beyond the training room - The UCC utilises the best presenters - industry experts. Trainers are seasoned professionals with relevant experience through corporate-level education and consulting who can deliver a highly relevant practical mix of theory and practice.

Create a learning environment: - Another feature of the programmes is their highly interactive nature, as learning should be exciting and fun. The presenters' delivery methods reflect this in their use of lectures, discussions, simulations and case studies.

  • UTech Focus

UTech offers accelerated dental training programmes

The University of Technology (UTech) has partnered with Marmicmon Integrated Marketing and Communications, a Canadian academic brokerage and franchise holders of the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology's (SIAST) Dental Assisting Curriculum, for the delivery of a two-year fast tracked Bachelor of Science degree in dental hygiene and a one-year certified dental assistant diploma.

These accelerated programmes will commence in September 2010 and will be offered through the University's School of Dental Sciences in the College of Health Sciences. The Ministry of Health in 2008 divested its dental auxiliary training programmes to UTech along with the functions of the former Dental Auxiliary School.

Both the degree and diploma programmes will prepare graduates to perform high-quality promotive, preventive and curative oral health care. Specifically, the Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene will prepare graduates to treat dental and gum diseases, expose dental radiographs and do prophylaxis on children and adults. The Dental Assisting graduate will be trained to provide assistance to dental surgeons, hygienists and therapists. In addition, graduates will be trained to manage dental stores, take dental records and plan and deliver dental-health education talks. The programmes offer a curriculum which meets the needs of local, regional and international dental services.

A vast majority of dental assistants in the private sector are not currently certified. Additionally, with the population of dentists being less than 150 in 2008, the ratio of dentists to the population is less than 6 per 100,000. The current international standard is 1:2,500. The training of more dental-care professionals for the local market is, therefore, an urgent imperative.

Graduates of the programme will earn internationally recognised certification and will have the opportunity to access employment in the health-care sector in Jamaica, regionally, in Canada and the USA.

Marmicmon Integrated Marketing and Communications is a corporate body, incorporated under the laws of the Province of British Columbia.

The application period is open from March 8 to May 28, 2010. For entry requirements and other details, call 927-1680-8 extn 2314/5 or visit the University's website at

  • NCU Bulletin

A gift of love: NCU gives US$10,000 to Haiti

Northern Caribbean University (NCU) recently presented Dr Jean Josué Pierre, president of the Université Adventiste D'Haiti, with a gift of US$10,000 to aid in the ongoing relief effort in Haiti. The cheque was presented to Dr Pierre by Dr Herbert Thompson, president of NCU, who shared that this was the first tranche of a gift of US$1 million from the Education Department of the Inter-American Division (IAD) to the Education Department of the Haitian Union.

Dr Moses Velasquez, education director of the IAD, had earlier shared at the second Summit of the Education Department of the IAD that the division's goal, over a three-year period, "is to present US$1 million to support the rebuilding of the SDA education arm in Haiti. This April, we will be presenting to that union US$250,000 as the first contribution for the Adventist Education system of the IAD."

Dr Thompson, in presenting the gift to Dr Pierre, expressed that NCU would provide all the support it could, and further shared that plans are afoot to offer technical support to assist the Université Adventiste D'Haiti in building temporary classrooms using shipping containers.

  • UWI Notebook

Stress-related hormone may contribute to High Blood Pressure

People of African origin have a high prevalence of hypertension, as well as high rates of hypertension-related deaths from stroke, heart disease and renal failure. Studies in Caucasian populations have provided evidence that excessive secretion of cortisol may contribute to the development of hypertension. cortisol is a hormone that is secreted from the adrenal glands, especially during periods of stress. Hypertensive African Americans have higher late-night and early-morning salivary cortisol concentrations compared to persons with normal blood pressure.

A research group at UWI's Tropical Medicine Research Institute (TMRI) found that in Jamaican children, there were strong associations between morning cortisol concentrations and blood pressure. The research team decided to investigate this further with funding provided by the Caribbean Health Research Council. The team included Michael Boyne, Alexander Woollard, David Phillips, Carolyn Taylor-Bryan, Franklyn Bennett, Clive Osmond, Tamika Royal Thomas, Rainford Wilks and Terrence Forrester of the Tropical Medicine Research Institute at Mona, and the Medical Research Council Epidemiology Resource Centre, University of Southampton, United Kingdom.

The TMRI team notes that elevated early-morning cortisol concentrations could be due to chronic psychosocial stress or genetic factors. Importantly, however, they could also be a result of "foetal programming". This phenomenon describes how growth within the womb and during infancy/childhood can influence someone's metabolism and his/her risk for chronic diseases in later life.

In animal studies, high cortisol levels from the mother lead to the birth of growth-retarded offspring who, in turn, secrete more cortisol throughout their life. These effects may persist over several generations. Although this mechanism is well described in animal models, it is as yet poorly described in humans. However, mothers with elevated cortisol levels during pregnancy, especially if they are stressed, have growth retarded offspring. Other studies have shown that growth-retarded babies have high cortisol secretion in childhood, and raised blood pressure in adulthood.

Afro-Caribbean populations have historically experienced high rates of poverty and have lower birth weights. They might, therefore, be expected to show evidence of the enhanced operation of this mechanism. The TMRI research group carried out a case-control study nested in an ongoing prospective cohort study of 569 mothers and children in Kingston. The team compared the cortisol levels of the mothers of 20 children with blood pressures at the upper end of the distribution with the cortisol levels of mothers of 20 children with blood pressures at the lower end. These children were not known to be growth retarded during pregnancy. The team measured the cortisol levels in saliva of the children and their mothers at 8 a.m. 12 noon, 4 p.m. and 10 p.m Since blood pressure is strongly associated with the metabolic syndrome (i.e. type 2 diabetes, hypercholesterolaemia, obesity), the mothers were also evaluated for the presence of the metabolic syndrome.

Children with higher blood pressure were 390 grams lighter at birth and their morning cortisol levels were 76 per cent higher than children with lower blood pressure. Their mothers also had morning cortisol levels that were 80 per cent higher. There were no differences in fasting glucose, insulin, cholesterol, blood pressure or body fat between the two groups of mothers. There was a significant correlation of the cortisol levels in mothers and their children. Also, cortisol levels in the mothers were significantly associated with the children's blood pressure. These associations were not affected by the mother's socio-economic status.

The TMRI research group concluded that Afro-Caribbean children with higher blood pressure have higher morning salivary cortisol levels. The children's cortisol levels correlate significantly with the mother's cortisol levels, indicating a possible intrauterine origin. These findings suggest that the cortisol may play a role in the development of raised blood pressure in Afro-Caribbean people. These results raise interesting hypotheses on the origins of hypertension which need further investigation.