Last Updated on December 1, 2023, 12:57 pm
Dr. Carissa Etienne, a respected Dominican health leader and former head of the Pan American Health Organization, passed away on December 1, 2023, in the early hours of Friday morning in the US. Reports suggest that she died from heart failure at the age of 71.
It’s noted that Dr. Etienne passed away in her bathtub during the night, shortly after receiving a positive report from her physician following back surgery earlier this year. Unfortunately, she passed away shortly after being taken to the hospital by ambulance.
Malcolm Brewster shared the sad news on Facebook, remembering Dr. Etienne’s significant contributions to healthcare in Dominica and her inspiring journey to becoming PAHO’s director. He highlighted her passion for influencing the next generation and her devotion to her faith as a devoted Roman Catholic.
Social media has been flooded with tributes and prayers for Dr. Etienne, expressing condolences to her family and community. Her sudden demise has left the community in mourning and shock, and her legacy will undoubtedly endure.
About Dr. Carissa F. Etienne
Dr. Carissa F. Etienne served as PAHO director for two consecutive five-year terms, earning love and respect from the people of her native Dominica for her support of universal healthcare. She was named Director-Emeritus during the 30th Pan American Sanitary Conference on September 30, 2022, after recently retiring from the position.
Dr. Etienne began her career as a medical officer at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Dominica and later became the nation’s chief medical officer. She holds a Master of Science (MSc) in Community Health in Developing Countries from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) from the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica.
Before her role as PAHO director, she served as Assistant Director-General for Health Systems and Services at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, from March 2008 until November 2012.
Additionally, she oversaw five technical areas as the assistant director of the Pan American Sanitary Bureau, covering family and community health, sustainable development and environmental health, health systems and services, technology, healthcare, and research.
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