Gerontology MSc alumni Rochelle Amour discusses her work on dementia in the Caribbean

The MSc programme is a good idea for both clinical and non-clinical professionals. I’m a Caribbean national with a background in psychology and writing, who enrolled at IoG because I was interested in ageing policy. I found the programme extraordinarily strategic. I met guest lecturers from international NGO’s, universities and local hospitals who offered insight on issues applicable to my region. I also learned from my peers. I sat in classes with doctors, nurses and allied health professionals and gained insight into their work with older patients.
Ageing is an extremely diverse and interconnected issue- the teaching staff at IoG gets this. My interest in policy was supported by robust training in research, as, of course, the two go hand in hand. My lecturers were progressive and very supportive, making themselves available when needed so I could do well, despite my initial aversion to statistics.
After completing my programme and returning to Trinidad, where there was very little awareness of ageing issues, I co-founded a company with a local clinician. We worked with other local professionals to offer multi-disciplinary services like retirement seminars, dementia care training and awareness campaigns.  This work eventually led to an offer from the Caribbean Institute for Health Research, University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica, where I now serve as a Research Fellow on the STRiDE dementia project.
STRiDE- Strengthening responses to dementia in developing countries– is a multidisciplinary research study being conducted in seven developing countries. Jamaica is the only Caribbean site. The project is funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund, UK and is being led by the London School of Economics, with a colleague from King’s College London serving on the project’s international advisory group(!)
In terms of my writing, I continue to flex those muscles in guest blog posts for the International Longevity Centre, UK and in my work with Alzheimer’s Jamaica. And in terms of other international opportunities, I’ve been able to present at conferences like the International Federation on Ageing’s Global Conference in Toronto, and have recently returned from an incredible STRiDE team meeting in South Africa. My MSc programme undoubtedly provided a strong base for me in terms of networking, competencies and international perspectives. I suspect it can do the same for you, too.
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