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Healthy Caribbean Coalition - Jamaican appointed to World Heart Federation board

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Deborah Chen

First Published Jamaica Observer 10th July 2010

JAMAICA is, for the first time, being represented on the board of the World Heart Federation (WHF) with the recent appointment of Deborah Chen as vice-president elect.

Chen, who is executive director of the Heart Foundation of Jamaica (HFJ), was appointed to the federation's 20-member board at the World Congress of Cardiology Scientific Session in Beijing, China on June 16.

Based in Geneva, Switzerland, the WHF is a non-governmental organisation that is committed to helping people achieve a longer and better life through prevention and control of heart disease and stroke, with a focus on low and middle-income countries.

"I am honoured to be elected as vice-president of the World Heart Federation because it is a testament to the work of the Heart Foundation of Jamaica. I look forward to the foundation's continued growth and contribution to addressing cardiovascular disease in Jamaica, and the influence we have made globally," she said of her new appointment.

Chen has worked extensively in the field of cardiovascular disease throughout her years at the HFJ and has sat on several international committees. Affiliations with international bodies include her positions as secretary to the board of the Inter-American Heart Foundation (IAHF), chair of the IAHF Emergency Cardiac Care Committee, board member on the National Resuscitation Council of Jamaica, and project director for the Caribbean Tobacco Control Project. She also served as member of the National Tobacco Control Committee, and the Lions Club of Kingston, which founded the HFJ in 1971.

She is married to James Chen and has two sons — Nicholas and Zachary. A past student of the Holy Childhood High School in Kingston, Chen is a registered nurse who has completed a post registration course in the intensive care of heart patients. She holds a Master of Public Health degree from the University of the West Indies (UWI) and is currently pursuing doctoral studies in public health at the UWI.

Heart disease and stroke (cardiovascular disease) are the leading cause of death in all parts of the globe. In order to address this, the WHF conducts awareness campaigns and action, promoting the exchange of information, ideas and science among those involved in cardiovascular care, advocating for disease prevention and control by promoting healthy diets, physical activity and tobacco free living at an individual, community and policymaker level.

The WHF is a membership organisation comprised of 202 members of medical societies and heart foundations from more than 100 countries. The body is recognised by the World Health Organisation as its leading non-governmental partner in the prevention and control of cardiovascular disease.

Governed by a board, whose members are leading cardiologists from around the world and executives from major heart foundations, the WHF represents the broadest range of those involved in heart health.

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