National Epidemiology and Research Unit

Purpose/Function of the Unit/Department

The National Epidemiology and Research Unit (NERU) was created in 2007 as an independent unit of the Ministry of Health, Agriculture and Human Services (MOHAHS) to promote public health and safety in TCI and improve the delivery of health services and health outcomes in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI).

NERU is in charge of disease surveillance and spearheading/conducting essential health research within the MOHAHS. This includes leading and conducting surveillance activities to monitor the determinants and distribution of diseases in the population, while strengthening the capacity of the MOHAHS to identify and effectively investigate and respond to disease outbreaks in a timely manner. This in turn minimizes the adverse impacts on the citizens and the economy of the TCI.

NERU also conducts research to generate health information to be used to inform health policy development, health in all policy (HiAP) development, evidence-informed decision-making, and the timely development and implementation of health interventions. Research endeavours thus far have focused on the ongoing assessment of health and nutritional status of school children and adolescents, measuring the impact of interventions, which consisted of infused health messages, into a sample of the nation’s elementary school curriculum; and conducting a seafood consumption and illness survey, which focused primarily on Ciguatera Food Poisoning (CFP) in TCI. Research on the risk factors for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is underway.

Services Provided by your Unit / Department

Whenever possible, NERU assists governmental agencies with essential health research including, but not limited to, assistance with research protocols, data analysis and scientific writing.

NERU disseminates epidemiological information in the form of newsletters, workshops, presentations both locally and regionally to ensure the stakeholders and partners are kept abreast of pertinent information and developments in public health.

NERU also chairs the National Surveillance Committee/Network of the MOHAHS.

Staff Name
Dr Terese Maitland
National Epidemiologist
Dr Shandey Malcolm
Deputy National Epidemiologist
Mrs Kayan Smith-Garland
Health Surveillance Officer
Ms Kendra Malcolm
Health Surveillance Officer