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From left: Issa Trust Foundation's medical director, Pat Brophy, with dental hygienists Silvia Flores and Mary Sullivan.
From left: Issa Trust Foundation’s medical director, Pat Brophy, with dental hygienists Silvia Flores and Mary Sullivan.

US Volunteers Deliver Medical Aid To St Mary Communities

Orantes Moore, Gleaner Writer

A MEDICAL team comprising more than 40 volunteers from the United States of America joined forces with the Issa Trust Foundation (ITF) to deliver a four-day mission across three districts in St Mary last month.

The delegation, led by the ITF’s medical director, Dr Pat Brophy, comprised pharmacists, physicians and therapists from hospitals in New York, Florida and Indiana, and targeted children in Oracabessa, Islington and Mason Hall with a series of mobile health clinics.

According to Brophy, the foundation, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, has developed a highly efficient process for providing quality, paediatric medical care as part of its long-term strategy to support and partner with local medical and other organisations.

He told Rural Xpress: “Four years ago, we introduced an electronic medical records system and now we’ve restructured into something like a clinical microsystem, so we’re able to run through over 200 patients a day, and give the kids great care.

“The system is a very lean process. The kids come in and register on our computer database, so we know if they are repeat visitors. From there, they have their vital signs checked and we monitor weight, growth, blood pressure and pulse and respiratory rates.

“If the patient is either a child aged between six months and two years, or a young lady over the age of 12 years old, they can also get their blood count [tested] because there is a high rate of anaemia in those groups, so we look for sickle cell or any indication of those kinds of things.”

While the children receive full body, dental and eye examinations, and medication and eyeglasses if necessary, completely free of charge, the foundation collects detailed information about each patient, which it shares with the Ministry of Health (MOH).

Brophy claims that between the annual missions and the ITF’s paediatric residency programme at Couples Hotel in Tower Isle, the charity has delivered health-care services to more than 60,000 children since 2010.

Nurse Jerre Grefe has travelled on four missions to Jamaica and watched the project flourish in recent years. She said: “I keep coming back to Jamaica because it’s a wonderful country with wonderful children.

Good care

“The work we do is important because every child deserves good medical care and health, and every year, [the mission] gets bigger and bigger because of word-of-mouth.”

Nurse Monica Keleher, who was returning to Jamaica for the second time, added: “Clinics like this are essential. I went to Haiti right after the earthquake and for three consecutive years after that because, in terms of sustainability, it’s important that we keep our kids healthy.”

The ITF’s primary objective is to support local communities and help the Government develop a “… sustainable and integrated health-care system,” said Brophy.

“We’ve been working towards developing an educational programme that is in alignment with the MOH’s plans, particularly for neonatology.

“We integrate ourselves within the paediatric community and our practitioners go out to local hospitals to participate in seeing patients on a daily basis.”

He added: “Last year, we noticed a decrease in incidents of asthma, probably due to education and changes in the Government’s smoking policy, which is good. Also, among some of the kids we’ve been monitoring for the past few years, there have been improvements in growth and a decrease in rates of anaemia.”


Quoted From the Jamaica Gleaner:
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Jamaica’s Couples Resorts is applauding the efforts by the affiliated Issa Trust Foundation to make the world a better place. Following this month’s JAPEX tourism show in Jamaica, Couples hosted a trip for tourism industry personnel to Jamaica’s Free Hill Primary School and the Orcabessa Medical Clinic, run by volunteers of the foundation, and brought school supplies for the students. Seen here (l-r) are Brenda McInerney, Transat Vacations; Diane Pollard, president of the Issa Trust Foundation; Dean Sullivan, VP sales and marketing, Couples Resorts; Suzanne Fleming, national accounts manager Canada, Couples Resorts; Ivonna Szelerska, Couples Resorts; Paul Issa, deputy chairman, Couples Resorts; Cindy Gerhardt, WestJet Vacations; and Darin Meder, national accounts manager USA, Couples Resorts, with students from the kindergarten class at Free Hill Primary School. Source: Travel Press
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Picture: Her Excellency, Lady Allen (far left) in discussion with Diane Pollard, President & CEO of the Issa Trust Foundation and Paul Issa (standing), Chairman of the Foundation. His Excellency, Sir Patrick Allen – Governor General of Jamaica and his wife, Her Excellency, Lady Allen, are patrons of the Issa Trust Foundation.

    A dedicated team of volunteers, including radiologists, a Neonatologist. a paediatric haemotologist/oncologist and a critical care nurse visited the Island as guests of Couples Resorts and it’s non-profit organization, the Issa Trust Foundation, to provide training to hospital staff at the St. Ann’s Bay Hospital in early April. Another member of the team, Jim Colvin, Lead Coordinator/Volunteerism at WelchAllyn, New York – a leader in the healthcare industry since 1915 – volunteered his vacation time to work with the Issa Trust Foundation in providing over J$5M (US$50,000) worth of WelchAllyn equipment and supplies which were donated to hospitals islandwide, including St. Ann’s Bay, Annotto Bay, Port Antonio and Port Maria Hospitals as well as the Mason Health Centre and the Bustamante Children’s Hospital in Kingston.  Included in this donation were ECG machines, blood pressure machines and vital spot monitors, just to name a few. An xray processor and diagnostic testing equipment valued at J$2M (US$20,000) were also donated to the St. Ann’s Bay Hospital by Radiology Imaging Solutions Inc., a Michigan-based company.  All donations were made through the Issa Trust Foundation and organized by its President & CEO, Diane Pollard, who led the team on this trip.   About Couples Resorts: Couples Resorts, headquartered in Montego Bay, Jamaica, owns and operates four properties in Jamaica – Couples Tower Isle, Couples Sans Souci, Couples Swept Away and Couples Negril.  Pioneered by the legendary Abe Issa, “father of Jamaican tourism,” each Couples Resort is an unsurpassed model of the all-inclusive resorts concept, boldly designed with local inspiration to create a harmonic sense of nature and authentic Caribbean spirit.  For over 33 years, Couples has delighted guests and refined the Caribbean all-inclusive resort experience by providing unparalleled service, exceptional dining experiences and exclusive added value inclusions.  For further information please visit   About  Issa Trust Foundation: The Issa Trust Foundation was established in 2005 by Couples Resorts as a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit.  The mission of the Foundation is to provide a system of prevention, health promotion and education, community health improvement and other services to promote well-being and development for the people of Jamaica.  Board Members are Paul Issa (Chairman), Petronia Brooks (Financial Controller), Diane Pollard (President & CEO), Alex Ghisays (PR Director) and Gail Soares (Treasurer).   For more information. please visit
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More than a thousand children will treated during the Issa Trust Foundation’s 10th paediatric medical initiative scheduled for September 25th September 30th. Dr. Pat Brophy, Medical Director, “The Issa Trust Medical Initiatives provide Paediatric focused general care for Children in Jamaica. While this has been the most notable component of our care program it has been largely enhanced by our year round ongoing efforts. We have dedicated ourselves to providing health based education, training and resource development support for the healthcare providers tasked with looking after Jamaica’s Children. In conjunction with other non-profit health based organizations and an active partnership with the Jamaican ministry of health we have provided real tangible improvements in child health. Importantly this has been done in a very cost effective and inclusive manner. We believe that working with the Jamaican government and local providers we can work at building a sustainable healthcare program for babies and children.” Kerri Cook, Lead RN, “nothing can make you feel better than helping a child get healthy! Thank you Jamaica for allowing us to come into your country and provide healthcare to your children. We will treat them like our own! And thank you for treating us like family! ” This year we have medical providers from many hospitals such as The University of Iowa Children’s Hospital, Iowa City, Iowa, Mercy Hospital, Des Moines, Iowa, and Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, Cleveland, Ohio. The team of 41 volunteers includes paediatric pharmacists, intensive care physicians, and hematology oncology physicians, general paediatricians, nephrologists, nurse midwife, pulmonologists, neonatologist, paediatric nurse practitioners as well as a paediatric nurse and respirator therapists. The team will also be providing health and education lectures at St. Ann’s Bay Hospital. In addition, this year all children will receive free eye exams and receive their glasses, if needed, at no cost, immediately after their exam, provided by the Michigan Lions. The Issa Trust Foundation was established in 2005 by Couples Resorts as a nonprofit organization. The mission of the Foundation is to provide a system of prevention, health promotion and education, community health improvement and other services to promote well-being and development for the people of Jamaica. poster announcement
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Click here to read our feature in Live Happy Magazine!
Amazing to read about our volunteers and how “volunteering” changed their life!
There were character-building lessons, too, such as learning to be more grateful and to rethink things that were previously deemed important.
At the Issa Trust Foundation, we are inspired by the words of Gandhi “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
We have seen time and time again how one person can make a difference in the lives of those in need. After reading Live Happy article, you too may be inspired!
Contact Diane at and live your dream!
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You Win Along With The Children – Set It and Forget It!

AmazonSmile donates a portion of your purchase to the charity of your choosing. Choose the Issa Trust Foundation as your charity of choice, and Amazon will donate 0.5 percent of the price of eligible purchases to support Issa Trust Foundation programs. AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support the Issa Trust Foundation every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to our foundation! Click on the link below to begin using AmazonSmile in support of The Issa Trust Foundation! AmazonSmile-banner We truly believe that if we want to change our world and really make a difference, there is no better place to start than in the life of a child! Today’s children are our future—they are the ones who will be leading their countries and cities . . . the ones who will be shaping the values future generations will live by. And though they may just be small children now, they still hold a great purpose. You shop, Amazon gives directly to The Issa Trust Foundation, helping us continue our mission — making a difference for children, one child at a time!
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Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, has expressed appreciation for Issa Trust Foundation’s partnership with the Ministry of Health, local professionals and administrators, and for providing medical care for thousands of children over the last nine years. In addition, the foundation continues to provide training for medical providers and donations of equipment. The Minister expressed support for the island wide pediatric nephrology workshop and outreach to educate rural pediatricians in the recognition and management of children with chronic kidney disease.
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Two infant ventilators valued at over J$2,000,000.00 were officially donated to the Paediatric ward of the St. Ann’s Bay Regional Hospital on November 12, 2012 by the Issa Trust Foundation. The Foundation’s donation is a significant upgrade to the manual technique being used by the facility, called bag mask ventilation. Ventilators are machines used to provide breathing support for ill or premature babies, as often they are too weak to breathe properly on their own. Twelve boxes of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies were also presented to the facility. Dr. Coralie Antoine, Paediatric Consultant at the facility thanked the Issa Trust Foundation saying, “We frequently manage extremely premature infants and very ill infants with various respiratory conditions who require ventilatory support. In the past, we have had to rely on the availability of ventilators at Type A hospitals necessitating the transport of unstable infants under less than ideal conditions. With these ventilators, we will be able to better manage our newborns on site. This donation will go a long way in improving our perinatal and infant morbidity and mortality rates and will reduce the need for transport of these ill infants to other facilities…” Eleven nurses and five doctors from the facility also benefitted from ‘hands on’ training in the use of the special equipment. Training encompassed a myriad of topics which include; the care of intubated neonatal patients, revision of the components of the baby log ventilator and bag mask ventilation, among other key topics. Training facilitators Cheryl Dominick, RRT-NPS and Christine Franciscovich, MSN, CRNP, NNP- BC, who are volunteers from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, have been coming to the island for over five years to assist in the foundation’s mission. The critical nature of the machines and their necessity was brought immediately into focus as during the training two babies stopped breathing and were intubated by the volunteers, and the nurses and doctors who had just received training. One of the volunteers, Cheryl Dominick said, “We stood watching the baby’s chest not rising, saturations dropping …It became evident in that moment that more ventilators and immediate training were needed to save the lives of these babies in Jamaica.” Another team of volunteers is expected to return in January 2013 to continue the training as it was interrupted by the passing of Hurricane Sandy. Additionally, they will bring a biomedical technician to service the donated machines. Mrs. Diane Pollard, Chief Executive Officer of Issa Trust Foundation, said “Through our partnerships, our goal is to provide more kids and their families with what they need the most, their health; so that we can satisfy their boundless hopes and dreams of a healthy future.” The Issa Trust Foundation was established by the Couples Resorts and has been involved in the enhancement of paediatric health care in north-east Jamaica since January 2005. Their partnership with the North-East Regional Health Authority continues to yield positive results for patients, especially the paediatric clientele. The Foundation is also supported by the Fraternal Order of Eagles another donor organization in the USA, established in 1898. The Issa Trust Foundation has demonstrated a keen interest in the parish of St. Mary, targeting the hospitals, clinics and underserved areas in the parish. In July 2012 the Foundation donated a twenty foot container valued at US$ 150,000 to the St. Mary Health Services. They have also initiated strategic outreaches in Portland and St. Ann. Since 2012 they have also demonstrated much interest in developing the St. Ann’s Bay Regional Hospital. Contact: Shauna Llewellyn – Gordon Regional Public Relations and Advocacy Officer (Acting) North East Regional Health Authority (NERHA) Units 34-38 Ocean Village Shopping Centre Ocho Rios, Jamaica W. I. Tel: 795-0102, 795-3107 Mobile: 318-0104, 457-0638 Email: and Diane Pollard President & CEO Issa Trust Foundation Email:
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Written by Carl Gilchrist, Gleaner Writer via The Gleaner ST ANN’S BAY, St Ann:   ventilator According to the laws of nature, baby Khaliyah Smith was due to be born in February 2013.  “She is due next month,” joked her mom Karen Roberts while she held her little daughter in her arms with unbridled joy as she sat in the paediatric ward at the St Ann’s Bay Regional Hospital last week Saturday. The reality is, little Khaliyah was born two and a half months early, on November 7, 2012, the tiny bundle of joy weighing an astonishing one and a half pounds. Miraculously, she survived, but she had to spend 68 days in a ventilator at the hospital before being released and given the all-clear to go home. Chances are Khaliyah would not have been alive today were it not for two ventilators donated to the hospital by the Issa Trust Foundation (ITF). Two infant ventilators valued at more than J$2 million were officially donated to the facility last November by the ITF after having been installed at the institution for some time. The donation has been considered a significant upgrade to the bag-mask ventilation, a manual technique previously used by the hospital. Ventilators are machines that provide breathing support for ill or premature babies who are often too weak to breathe properly on their own. Expressing appreciation On Saturday, Roberts met the persons who made it possible. She spared no words in expressing her appreciation and described her joy over the survival of her baby and for being able to finally hold her and take her home. “This morning, I met the persons who donated the ventilator, and I’m so grateful,” Roberts told The Gleaner. “Because of them this is possible!” said the ecstatic mother. Speaking about the ventilator, Roberts said: “I have benefited greatly from it. My baby was born premature – six and a half months. She was very, very tiny. In fact, she’s big right now in comparison to where she was. She spent 68 days on the ventilator. It helped her, and she’s right here in my arms. A blessing! A miracle! I am overwhelmed.” For the nearly 10 weeks that baby Khaliyah spent on the ventilator, Roberts prayed and hoped for the best. She received moral support from all quarters – friends, family, co-workers. “It was overwhelming. I could not have done it without them – everybody!” Roberts said her son, Kevoy, “absolutely adores” his little sister. “He would say, ‘Mommy can I borrow her? I want to borrow her.’ She’s a blessing.” Diane Pollard, president and CEO of ITF and several members of a medical mission team from the United States of America, were at the hospital. The visiting team was involved in a second round of training of hospitalstaff members in the use of the ventilators. Jamie Sklar, a Registered Nurse from Philadelphia, has been working with the ITF for several years as a member of the medical mission. She explained that the ventilators were a donation from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “I think Jamaica is at a place where they need the help of technology and training, and that’s what we’ve been providing with these ventilators,” Sklar said. Keisha Bramwell, supervisor on the paediatric ward and one of the nurses trained in the use of the machines, said the equipment provided more in-depth care for patients. “With the help we are able to give now, we don’t have to transfer our patients that much. We now are able to give them the emergency care that they need in a short space of time,” Bramwell said. Pollard, commenting on ITF’s involvement, said what made the foundation different from others was that they not only brought much-needed equipment, but also provided training. “We do this because it’s the right thing to do. We love Jamaica, we want to make a difference, we are able to make a difference,” Pollard said. St Ann’s Bay Regional Hospital CEO Keith Richards said the partnership between ITF and the hospital had facilitated an improvement in the quality of service being offered at the institution. “We have saved a large number of lives! Babies have gone home with mommy much happier and much healthier. I believe the initiative and approach by Issa Trust paediatric care is going to go a very far way in this country,” Richards said. He also appealed for others to come on-board and support the hospital. PHOTOS BY KAREN SUDU
Miramar, FL, April 09, 2011 — His Excellency The Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, ON, GCMG, CD, was appointed Governor-General of Jamaica on February 26, 2009. A noted Christian, Sir Patrick Allen served the Seventh-day Adventist Church in various capacities for 28 years. He has served as Principal, Pastor, Director and President in the Central Jamaica Conference and West Indies Union Conference respectively. Sir Patrick is no stranger to public service in Jamaica, having taught in public schools for ten years, and while working with the church, served on the boards of the Government’s Public Broadcasting Commission, Police Civilian Oversight Authority, and the Strategic Oversight Commission. He was knighted by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II in June, 2009. His Excellency stated, “The wellbeing of people goes beyond the scope of material and physical structures. It includes intangibles such as care, love, service and sympathy towards others, and this, merged with the physical provisions, determines overall wellness. “Since 2005, the Issa Trust Foundation, under the auspices of Couples Resorts, has been helping to provide health care and education for children and young adults in rural Jamaica. The focus on these two areas is important as they are critical to the development and prosperity of our country. “Your selfless service and volunteerism has helped to change the lives of many children and adolescents, who have experienced improved reading and writing skills. The access to much-needed medical services will enable many more persons to enjoy healthy, happier and more productive lives. “The Issa Foundation is a shining example of the positive results which come from acknowledging and effecting corporate responsibility in a practical way. I congratulate you and your local and international partners for the work which you continue to do. Your efforts are a true depiction of selfless love and service to others.” “We are extremely humbled and thankful for His Excellency’s acceptance, and for his enduring support of our work,” states Diane Pollard, President & CEO, Issa Trust Foundation ( “Giving children a healthy start in life, no matter where they are born or the circumstances of their birth, is the moral obligation of every one of us. We have a global responsibility to give of the utmost of ourselves, materially and morally.” “It is with deep gratitude that we salute his Excellency the Governor General, Sir Patrick Allen, for his willingness to serve as Distinguished Patron of the Issa Trust Foundation and his endorsement of the work of the Foundation,” states Paul Issa, Deputy Chairman of Couples Resorts. “Couples Resorts and its parent company, the House of Issa, have a long history of philanthropy in Jamaica, going back to the early 1900s when my grandfather Elias Issa became a successful merchant. He saw the need to ‘give back’ to his adopted home, Jamaica, where he settled with his father in 1893. From his humble beginnings as a pushcart peddler, he built a business empire that is still operating today, well over a hundred years later. Among the many charitable organizations he created were the Issa Scholarship and the Mary Issa Clinic. Today, as a result of the donations of many Couples guests and many other charitable entities, the Issa Trust Foundation continues in that tradition.”
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