Honoring the Legacy of Dr. Carissa Etienne - A Farewell to a Champion of Public Health

10 Jan 2024
Official viewing of the late PAHO Emeritus - Dr Carissa Etienne
10 Jan 2024

Roseau, Dominica, 10 January 2024 (PAHO) – PAHO Director Emeritus, Dr. Carissa Faustina Etienne was laid to rest in her native country Dominica on Wednesday, 10 January 2024.

An official funeral was accorded by the Government of Dominica in honor of her outstanding contribution to public health in Dominica, the region and globally.  The day was declared a day of mourning in the country.

The official viewing of the late Dr. Etienne took place at the State House Conference Center in the morning, the service was held at the Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in the afternoon, followed by the interment at the Roseau Catholic Cemetery.

A diverse crowd gathered to pay their last respects, express their condolences, and offer support to the grieving family including her husband Mr. Joseph Gregoire, children Kimani, Kwame and Kanika Gregoire, mother Bertilia Birmingham, grandchildren, sisters, and brothers.

In attendance at the services were former and present Presidents of Dominica – His Excellency Charles Savarin and Her Excellency Sylvanie Burton respectively; Prime Minister of Dominica, Honorable Roosevelt Skerrit; all members of the cabinet; professionals from the medical community; Ministry of Health personnel; the judicial fraternity; Minister of State in the Ministry of Health and Wellness - Barbados, Hon. Davidson Ishmael; Chief Medical Officer-Barbados, Dr. Kenneth George;  the Pan American Health Organization; diplomatic corps; family; friends, and the public.

“In Dr. Etienne we lost a champion, we lost a pillar in health, a pillar in humanity, someone with absolute compassion.  Notwithstanding the fact that she rose in ranks regionally and internationally, she did not forget the people and fundamentals.  We will sincerely miss a hero in the person of Dr. Etienne,” Hon Cassanni Laville, Minister of Health, Wellness and Social Services, Dominica.

“We have to recognize what Dr. Etienne stood for and what she did from those days in Primary Health Care.  The only way we can really pay tribute is to continue her legacy as regards to how we are going to take Primary Health Care to the next level because she understood that it is the foundation of Universal Health Coverage, “ Hon. Dr. Irving McIntyre, Minister for Finance, Economic Development, Climate Resilience and Social Security.

Dr. Amalia Del Riego, PAHO/WHO Representative for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Countries and representation for PAHO Director Dr. Jarbas Barbosa at the funeral, “A very sad day for us the entire PAHO family and the world.  Everyone that worked closely with Dr. Etienne knows that in addition to being a public health leader, she was committed to public health and the right of people to have access to health and health care.  She was a fantastic human being.”

A memorial service in honor of Dr. Carissa F. Etienne took place on Friday, 22 December 2023 in the United States.