Congratulations to SAHS alumnae Judy Wedderburn and Helen Fox on receiving national honours this year. Judy has been awarded the Order of Distinction in the Rank of Commander (CD) for her invaluable contribution as a Gender Development Specialist in Jamaica and the Caribbean; Helen Fox has been awarded the Order of Distinction in the Rank of Officer (OD) for outstanding and devoted contribution to the field of Nutritionand Dietetics.
Judith Wedderburn is the Director of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) in Jamaica. She has been a longstanding activist in gender and development in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean for over 20 years. In her capacity as a gender and development specialist she has facilitated workshops and provided training and advice on policy-making to numerous organizations in the public, private and NGO sectors. She has presented at regional and international conferences on a range of issues, some of which include: gender and trade in the Caribbean and gender and development policy in the Caribbean. Judith is also a member of Development Alternatives for Women of New era (DAWN Caribbean), the Caribbean Policy Development Centre (CPDC), and the Association of Caribbean Economists. She has also been an active member of Women’s Media Watch (Jamaica) since its inception in 1987, and is currently Board member on several NGOs.
Helen Fox (excerpted from the Gleaner, September 16, 2003) The first post created for dietician was at the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) and assumed by Helen Fox in 1953. She was the first female winner of the Jamaica Scholarship from St. Andrew High School in 1939 and had expected to go to Cambridge University to study mathematics when the war broke out. Instead, she went to McGill University in Canada and graduated with a B.Sc. degree in Home Economics and Dietetics. Since North American graduates were not well recognised by the then Jamaican Government, she pursued her internship at the St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London.
Returning to Jamaica in 1953, she recalled those primitive days at the KPH with only a single ancient army stove that used wood, to prepare meals for the patients. The staff was small with six untrained persons. She spent only three years there during which time, she planned a new and expanded kitchen to service the growing institution. Avis Kerr succeeded her at KPH.
Ms. Fox then served as research assistant to Dr. John Waterlow at the Tropical Metabolism Research Unit of the University of the West Indies before returning to London to qualify with the M.Sc. Nutrition in 1960. As the first nutritionist at the Scientific Research Council, she was instrumental in starting the Nutrition Biochemistry Laboratory and was succeeded there by Versada Campbell, who later became the first local nutrition educator at the Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute (CFNI).
Ms. Fox then entered public health nutrition, assuming the first post of nutrition officer at the Ministry of Health and she implemented the parish programmes in community nutrition to combat the then scourge of protein-energy malnutrition.