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ECHORN Symposium to Examine Rise of Chronic Disease


The University of the Virgin Islands and Yale University have partnered to host the 2nd Annual Eastern Caribbean Health Outcomes Research Network (ECHORN) Symposium, set for May 29 to May 31. ECHORN is a community-based prospective cohort study dedicated to expanding clinical research on chronic diseases affecting racial ethnic minority populations across the Eastern Caribbean. The ECHORN Symposium will be held at the Marriott Frenchman’s Reef Hotel.

Health research professionals from across the Caribbean basin and the United States will attend. Symposium participants will hear presentations, participate in panel discussions and participate in two-day workshops. “The Eastern Caribbean Health Outcomes Research Network or ECHORN aims to improve health outcomes in the region by closely examining risk factors for such prevalent, non-communicable chronic diseases as heart disease, cancer and diabetes,” said UVI Nursing Professor Dr. Maxine Nunez, who leads ECHORN - USVI. “The research findings generated by ECHORN will have direct implications for health policy in the region, and for health inequities research and policy in the mainland United States,” she said.

ECHORN also focuses on increasing research capacity and infrastructure within the region and provides leadership training to support ongoing health research. This cross-island research alliance includes Yale University, UVI, the University of Puerto Rico and the University of West Indies’ Cave Hill and St. Augustine campuses. ECHORN focuses on the rise of chronic diseases in the region, such as diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease.

“ECHORN is directly responsive to the need of greater research infrastructure and collaboration within the region to help combat the epidemic of non-communicable chronic disease,” said Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, ECHORN principal investigator and Yale University School of Medicine faculty member. She added that Yale University is very fortunate to partner with these leading institutions to achieve ECHORN’s objectives. Nunez-Smith is a St. Thomas native.

Founded in 2011, ECHORN is funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. The yearly symposium rotates between island sites. The 3rd annual ECHORN Symposium will take place in Puerto Rico in spring 2014.

To learn more about ECHORN, visit