PHILIPSBURG – On Friday, May 27, the University of St. Martin (USM) celebrated the success of a groundbreaking project where representatives of Dutch and French St. Maarten conducted a survey on the physical and psychological health of the entire population.
The locale was fitting as the study was the result of the collaboration between the Observatoire Saint Martin-Sint Maarten, the Department of Public Health of St. Maarten, and University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) at the University of St. Martin (UVI@USM).
After complimenting Fenna Arnell, Arnauld Benet, and Dr. Louis Jeffry for being the driving force behind this project, President of USM Dr. Francio Guadeloupe stated, “There were several ‘firsts’ that were celebrated on the occasion: To start with it was the first time in the history of the EU in the Caribbean Region that an Overseas Country Territory (OCT) – St. Maarten – and an Outer Most Region (OMR) – Saint Martin – successfully worked together sharing knowledge and expertise on an EU-funded project.
“Concretely, taking the reality of the island into consideration, both sides have decided to work together to address the health needs of the population. With this study, the care of the population will be based more so on fact rather than conjecture and informed guesses.
“The study also surpasses the border of St. Maarten/St. Martin as it involves the expertise of the American Caribbean University, i.e. the University of the Virgin Islands assisting in the analysis of the data and the production of the final report.”
Since August 2015, UVI had joined with USM to create UVI@USM where inhabitants of both sides of the island, and the surrounding islands can obtain fully accredited Bachelor’s and/or Master’s Degree at a reduced rate while remaining in St. Maarten.
UVI@USM will offer the needed support enabling policies of the government and decisions of businesses and civil associations based upon sound facts and figures. This is an example of regional integration that many dream about.
Caption for picture: Dr. Francio Guadeloupe, Gaelle Plisson, Fenna Arnell, Arnauld Benet