Heart and Stroke president to help set hypertension guidelines


Dr Kenneth Connell has been selected as one of 16 international experts, for the World Health Organisation (WHO) Guideline Development Group. 

The Geneva-based WHO is a leading authority on setting standards in healthcare internationally and publishes comprehensive guidelines for the management of both chronic diseases, and emerging health threats. The last revision of the guidelines for the management of hypertension in adults was last published in 1999 and is therefore long overdue for an update.

Representation on this development group is a critical opportunity for the Caribbean to influence such a global organisations perspectives and evidence on health challenge which confronts 24.0 per cent – 37.5 per cent of adults age 25 to 64 in the Caribbean. Membership of this guideline group represents a significant recognition of professional expertise in the discipline of hypertension science, and larger endorsement of the contribution made by the region.

Dr Connell became the President of the Heart & Stroke Foundation in 2017. He was the principal investigator on the US CDC/ PAHO Standardised Hypertension Treatment Project – Barbados pilot from April 2014 – April 2016 and is currently an expert consultant for the United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the WHO Global Hearts Initiative, a programme of health system interventions to improve blood pressure outcomes. 

CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Barbados, Michelle Daniel, said: “Dr Connell’s selection as a Caribbean decision-maker and influencer in this Group is a pivotal one at a time when Barbados and the region are focused on encouraging citizens to both know and manage their ‘numbers’.”  

The development group will involve an extensive review of the best available evidence and expert opinion to create a final document that will very likely set an international standard for the management of hypertension.

In response to his selection, Dr Connell said: “I consider this nomination one of the most significant professional recognitions in my relatively early career as an academic. I remember using the WHO guidelines as a medical student, back in 1999, and respected them as the authoritative source of information for the management of hypertension in adults.

“The members of the Guideline Development Group are all leaders in the field, and it is truly an honour to recognised as an equal within this group. I will represent both the people of the region, and the UWI, in Geneva, in the deliberations on the new guidelines.” (PR)


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