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Psychology Pioneer Awards

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Psychology Trailblazer / Long Service Awards

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Pioneer Awardee Biographies

Dr. Ilna Janice Evans

Consultant Clinical Neuropsychologist and Educational Psychologist. Having qualified as a Clinical Psychologist from the University of London, London, Great Britain. Elected as Associate Fellow and registered as a Chartered Clinical Psychologist by the British Psychological Society in 1966. Janice worked with the Government of Jamaica, returning to Jamaica in November 1971 as Head of the Dept of Psychology - Bellevue Hospital.

She was responsible for the administration of psychological services at Dept. of Psychiatry UHWI & Bellevue Hospital where she instituted a comprehensive statistical system for the hospital; conducted child and adolescent clinics at Bellevue Hospital and other hospitals (Manchester, St. Ann, St. Catherine, Portland etc.). She was particularly involved in the island wide study of facilities for educationally challenged children.
Before returning home in 1971, she had organized countywide programmes for the training of caregivers of the Mentally Retarded / Intellectually Disabled as Head of the Psychology Department – Goodmeyes, Friern Barnett, South Ockendan, introducing and implementing psychological programmes with Psychiatric Nursing and Psychotherapy personally specializing in rehabilitative counselling
Dr Evans was integrally involved in the establishment of the Jamaica Psychological Association with the collaboration of individuals such as Dr. Ruth Doorbar, Dr. George Mahy, Mr. Huntley Forrester, Mrs. Elizabeth Robinson, and Dr. Valerie Freckleton.

award crcp doorbarDr. Ruth Doorbar

Biographical information forthcoming


Marlene HamiltonProfessor Marlene Hamilton

Professor Marlene Hamilton was Pro-Vice Chancellor of The University of the West Indies. She was the first woman to be appointed at this level, her initial appointment being in 1991 making her one of the institution’s longest-serving PVCs (1991-2007). Her university-wide responsibilities related to Undergraduate Studies, although she held a number of other portfolios, and also served as Deputy Principal of the Mona campus between 1991 and July 1996.

Professor Hamilton is a graduate of the UWI whose staff she joined in 1973 as a lecturer attached to the Faculty of Education, and where she also served at various times, as Head of the Department of Educational Studies and Dean of the Faculty. She has supervised the research degrees of some 35 graduate students at the Masters and Doctoral levels: her own research interests are anchored in Educational and Social Psychology as well as Gender Studies and Quality Assurance, in which areas she has published widely. She has also written on issues concerning educational access as well as elements of social policy.

Professor Hamilton’s administrative responsibilities have, over the years, led to the adoption of several university-wide policies, most noteworthy, those addressing Sexual Harassment, HIV/AIDS, and Students with Disabilities. As Deputy Principal, she supported the introduction of a number of personal development programmes for students (for example, Mentorship, and Leadership) which were in time implemented on all campuses. She also spearheaded the establishment of a regional Accreditation Authority for Medical and related Health programmes, which was approved by the CARICOM Heads of Government in 2003/2004. Her office wrote the proposal for, and secured a UNESCO Chair in Education and HIV/AIDS (the first of its kind) which also attracted significant funding from the Commonwealth Secretariat.

She has been a member of several professional bodies and has also served on a number of public service committees, including the Government of Jamaica’s Public Services Commission, on which she was appointed Commissioner in 1992. Professor Hamilton was the Caribbean’s representative on the Board of the Commonwealth of Learning until the end of 2001, and has served on many ad hoc committees such as the Eisenhower Fellowship and Andres Bello selection boards. She has undertaken a wide selection of consultancies and has done numerous invited presentations/papers.

Professor Hamilton has been the recipient of a number of honours and awards for outstanding achievement, one of the most significant being the award of the Order of Distinction (Commander Class) for service in the field of Tertiary Education by the Jamaican Government in 2002. She was named “Outstanding Educator of the Year” (2006) by the Joint Committee for Tertiary Education in Jamaica, and has received the prestigious Pelican Award as an outstanding graduate of the UWI from the Jamaica Alumni Chapter in 2003 and New York Chapter the year after.

She retired from the UWI in October, 2007 and was accorded the title of Professor Emerita shortly after. Since retiring, Professor Hamilton has been engaged in consultative work for a number of international agencies such as UNESCO and the OAS. She continues to have a strong interest in the institution and contributes to various activities from time to time. She is currently Chair of the CARICOM Medical Accreditation board (CAAM-HP) a post which she has held since 2012.

Trailblazer / Long Service Awardee Biographies

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Dr. Barrington Samuel Davidson, CD, M.A., Psy.D. MFT

Family Psychologist
CEO Family Life Ministries

Dr. Barrington Davidson, noted family psychologist, serves as Chief Executive Officer of Family Life Ministries. He provides leadership to a team of approximately forty counselors qualified at the Masters level in clinical and counseling psychology. These counselors have entered in contractual arrangements with the organization to provide services to the clients. Dr. Barry Davidson acquired a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Trinity College in Deerfield, Illinois. He then obtained Masters Degrees in Theology and Psychology as well as a Doctorate in Family Psychology, majoring in Marriage and Family Therapy, from Fuller Graduate School of Psychology, Pasadena, California. On August 6, 2014, Dr. Davidson, was conferred with the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander (CD) by the Government of Jamaica.

Since 1981, Dr. Davidson has been counseling with couples, adults, adolescents and families, and assisting them in resolving personal and relational problems. In May of 1989 and 1990 respectively, he received the Jeff Balswick Memorial Award, and the Faculty Award for academic performance in Marriage and Family Therapy at Fuller Graduate School Awards Convocation. This culminated his outstanding work with Project Family Outreach, an agency for ethnic minorities living with multiple or severe social, emotional and spiritual problems in Pasadena, California. His contributions to academia have been numerous. He was a visiting lecturer at Azuza Pacific College in California, Lecturer at the Caribbean Graduate School of Theology, and a part-time lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Social Work at the University of the West Indies, Mona.

Dr. Davidson, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Family Life Ministries, has served this Organization since 1983 in the capacities of Executive Director, Director of Counselling, and Chairman. He is a consultant to the Executive Team of the Jamaica Psychological Society and sits on the Board of the ‘Back to the Bible Broadcast’. Dr. Davidson authored the well-known pre-marital counselling manual “Before They Say I Do”, and co‚ÄĎauthored “Healthy Families A Caribbean Perspective,” with Mrs. Maureen Watson, and “Answers to Questions Parents Ask,” with Dr. Faith Linton.

A committed Christian, and father of three adult daughters from his 45 years marriage to Beverley -- two biological and one foster, they now boast the title of “Grand Parents” with the joy of seven grandchildren. Dr. Davidson’s dynamism and earthiness makes him a well sought-after presenter at various seminars and workshops in Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean. His wealth of knowledge and experience in the disciplines of psychology is extensive and commendable.

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Dr. Dennis J. Edwards

Dr. Dennis Edwards is the former Head of Psychology Unit at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, Jamaica and was also previously Head of Clinical Services at the Mico College Child Assessment and Research in Education Centre. He is a twice LASPAU Full Bright Scholar. He took his doctorate at Temple University and pre and post doctorate in mental health, clinical psychology and clinical neuropsychology at the University of Maryland Hospital. He previously took masters degrees at the University of the West Indies (UWI) and Ball State University (Indiana) and specialist training in behavioral analysis at Colombia University (New York). More recently he was a Visiting Professor in the Neuropsychology Laboratory in the Department of Neurology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He is the consulting neuropsychologist at the Rehabilitation Institute of the Caribbean. In addition to his history of teaching assignments and clinical engagements at the UWI Dr. Edwards is the Head of the Disaster Reduction & Resilience Research Laboratory in the Faculty of Social Sciences. He has a very long record of working across the education and health systems in Jamaica and other Caribbean territories and the Americas. He has served on many boards and committees as well as conference presented and published on issues addressing children, adolescents and adults behavioral, cognitive and mental health concerns in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean.

Dr. Edwards was trained as a combat clinical psychologist at the Duchess of Kent Military Psychiatric Hospital in the United Kingdom and, as a former Military Officer, served as clinical psychologist in the Jamaica Defense Force.

This senior citizen admits to occasionally amusing himself in his delusion of once again, play senior league basketball and international rugby for his country. He consider himself a passionate and serious student of cosmology. Among his voluntary services he is currently President of the Jamaica Red Cross.

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Herbert ‘Barney” Eldemire

  • Been working in substance use both treatment and prevention since 1990
  • Wrote initial outpatient treatment programme for Addiction Alert Organization (AAO) now RISE LIFE Management Services in 1990 as well as collaborated with AAO in creating a life-skills based prevention programme for schools in 1994.
  • Have trained persons to become substance use counselors in OAS/CICAD sponsored training and certification programme
  • Work in the Addiction Treatment Services Unit (ATSU) at the UHWI since 2007
  • Maintain small private practice
  • Am Sports enthusiast, love reading and above all, doing nothing.

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Rev. Dr. Valerie Freckleton

Psychologist Rev. Dr. Valerie Freckleton has been working professionally in the field of Psychology since 1979. Prior to that she worked in Jamaica and in Barbados as a registered Pharmacist and also in The United States of America. She has been a member of the Jamaican Psychological Association, now Society, since 1982 and is also a member of the American Psychological Association.

She was educated at Montego Bay High School for Girls, Pace University in New York and the University of the West Indies. She is the Founder and Managing Director of Psychological and Stress Management Services Limited. Among her many achievements and awards is the publishing of her recent book Happiness Is Mind which was launched in March and April of this year (2018).

She has taught psychology in the Nurse Practitioner’s Programme, Ministry of Health, at the College of Insurance and Professional Studies and the University of the West Indies Extra Mural Department. Dr. Freckleton lectured in the first Bachelor’s Degree programme in Business Management in 1993 at the University of Technology, Jamaica, then College of Arts, Science and Technology. Her area of concentration was Industrial Psychology and Organizational Behaviour.

Outside of her professional duties she is an Ordained Minister and Director of Silent Unity Prayer Ministry, Jamaica. She also serves on the English International Credentialing Ministry Team, Unity Worldwide Ministries, Missouri USA since 2015.

Rev. Dr. Valerie Freckleton has had a profound influence in the development of Psychology in Jamaica and the Caribbean.

She has one daughter, Kerri-Anne Desulme who is also a Psychologist. They reside in Kingston, Jamaica.


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Dr. Rosemarie Johnson

Senior Lecturer, Department of Sociology, Psychology & Social Work, UWI Mona
Coordinator, MSc Clinical Psychology, UWI Mona
Licensed Clinical Psychologist who practices in Jamaica and Florida

Received PhD from Howard University, Washington DC in 1991. Returned to Jamaica in 1995 to take up faculty position. Prior to that she worked in the Office for Civil Rights in the US Department of Education as a Statistician/Research Methodologist.

For the past 30 years, Dr Johnson has dedicated herself to helping her clients and students live empowered lives. However, the slow pace of behaviour change using traditional psychological techniques led her to explore and get training in alternative interventions.

Thus, in addition to her Ph.D. in Psychology, she has the following trainings and certifications: Quit Smoking Specialist; Certified Divorce Mediator; Certified Trainer and Master Practitioner of Neuro-­linguistic Programing (NLP), Mental Emotional Release Therapy MER). These technologies of the mind facilitate rapid changes for clients in every area of functioning; Clinical Hypnotherapist; Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Practitioner; Strategic Intervention Life Coach

These techniques allow her to integrate traditional psychology with technologies of the mind and help clients achieve rapid, long lasting changes in their lives.

Dr Johnson’s corporate clients include Grace Kennedy and Company, Ltd, Carib Star Shipping, Bank of Jamaica, Petrojam, Ltd, Guardian Life Insurance Company, Jamaica Money Market Brokers (JMMB), Total Gas Station, and Jamaica International Insurance Company, Ltd (JIIC).

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Dr. Audrey M. Pottinger

Dr Audrey M Pottinger was trained in the USA, UK and Jamaica. After she obtained her PhD from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, her professional career in Clinical Psychology began with her working with the school system in Haringey Council, London. Upon returning home she became employed as a full-time lecturer in 1996 in the Department of Child and Adolescent Health at the University of the West Indies and a consultant of the University Hospital (UHWI). Presently she is a Senior Lecturer who teaches medical students, paediatric residents and graduate students in Psychology programmes. She has worked as the ‘in-house’ Stress Counsellor for the staff of the United Nation agencies in Jamaica, and currently serves as one of their external mental health consultants.

Over the years, Dr Pottinger’s research and clinical interests have revolved around grief and loss in children, and infertility and assisted family building. In 2003 she developed the psychological counselling services for those seeking assisted reproduction at the fertility management unit at UWI, and has done pioneer research in the Caribbean on children born from assisted reproduction. In 2005 in response to the growing levels of violence in the country, she began a specialty outpatient Grief and Trauma clinic at the UHWI which seeks to help children and families manage varying loss and traumatic experiences. By 2015 she responded to the need for training practitioners in grief counselling and developed a one year post graduate diploma in Loss, Grief and Trauma Management out of the Faculty of Medical Sciences, UWI. Another initiative in 2016 saw her developing a national counselling programme aimed at making mental health intervention and prevention more accessible to the public. In this effort she has partnered with an ecumenical group of churches and oversees mental health practitioners at five sites around the island.

She has over 40 publications in the field of child psychology and reproductive psychology including being the author or co-author of books on stress management, coping with bereavement loss, helping children cope with parental separation, and understanding and managing child adoption and loss.

Dr Pottinger is a licensed clinical psychologist, and a member of the Jamaica Psychological Society, American Psychological Association and International Association for Counselling.

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Dr. Leachim Semaj

Dr. Leahcim Semaj knew he had a special gift for sharing information when he won the Distinguished Teacher Award at Cornell University. With a unique ability to impact persons at all levels of education and competence, Dr. Semaj creates a participatory environment that keeps the audience fully engaged.

People routinely remind him of what he said in a presentation years ago that impacted their lives. This is why he is noted among the leading Motivational and Keynote Speakers, Creative Thinkers and Problem Solvers in the Caribbean.

This Quantum Transformation Psychologist combines ancient wisdom with contemporary ‘livity’ to bring fresh insight to old human problems.

He is a frequent presenter and facilitator for Change Management, Leadership Training, Strategic Planning Retreats, Organizational Restructuring, Cultural and Work/Values Alignment, Work/Life Balance, Corporate Coaching and Demystifying complex concept that impact people’s lives.

Dr. Semaj has worked with many sectors including -

  • Energy, Hospitality, Finance, Gaming, Telecommunications, Security, Agriculture, Pharmaceutical, Shipping, Distribution, Manufacturing, Education and Government.
  • Worked across the Caribbean also North America, South America, Europe

The Jamaica Employers’ Federation has recognized Dr. Semaj for “Leadership in Innovative Workplace Practices”. He is included in Peter Ferguson’s publication CHANGE MAKERS as one of the 101 men who have helped to define modern day Jamaica.

Education: Pre and Post-Doctoral Fellowship from Educational Testing Service, Princeton, New Jersey; PhD and M.Sc. (Psychology) from Rutgers University; B.A. cum laude from City College of New York; A Graduate of Kingston College (Jamaica).

Research and Teaching Posts: Cornell University and Rutgers (USA), University of the West Indies and College of Agriculture (Jamaica).

Media Involvement: Newspaper columnist for the major publications and hosted a wide variety of radio and TV programmes.

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Dr. Angela Gordon Stair

Angela Gordon Stair is the head of the Counselling Service on the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies and has been with the unit since 1980. Her clinical interests are in the area of relationship issues, trauma and mature students.

She is a member of several professional organizations including the Jamaican Psychological Society, the American Counselling Association, the American College Counselling Association, the International Association for Counselling and she is a National Certified Counsellor (NCC) in the USA.

She volunteers as the coordinator of the Psychosocial Support Unit of the Jamaica Red Cross and is a roster member of the Reference Centre for Psychosocial Support, an arm of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. She is a Master Trainer for that organization.

Over the years she has co-authored several articles and book chapters in both local and international publications and her most recent publication co-authored with Dr Audrey Pottinger is the book, Child adoption: Managing losses, achieving effective care-giving solutions.

In addition to all that, she currently teaches two modules – Practice and Ethics of Counselling and Psychological First Aid – in the post graduate diploma programme, Loss, Grief and Trauma Management at the University of the West Indies.

She holds a PhD in Education from the University of the West Indies (UWI), a Masters in Counselling from Western Carolina University, North Carolina, USA and a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology from UWI. She also holds a post-masters Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS) in Counselling Psychology from Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

award crcp weller Dr. Peter Weller

A "people person", problem solver, advocate, and educator by nature, Dr Weller, who is a graduate of Howard University (Washington DC) and Emory University (Atlanta Georgia), started his professional career as a Research Psychologist at the Centers for Disease Control (Atlanta, Georgia) before returning to Jamaica. He has integrated his professional training as a Clinical Psychologist and his concern about wellness and social justice to build a career as a personal development and community change agent in the public and private sectors throughout the Caribbean.
In the 1990s he became the first president of the reconstituted Jamaica Psychological Society and has also been a member of the Trinidad and Tobago Psychological Association. As the first Psychologist with the National AIDS Program in Jamaica he was involved in developing the prevention/ health promotion campaigns and the care, counseling and support programs for people affected by HIV/ AIDS.
Dr Weller has provided counseling/ therapy to staff and students at the University of the West Indies, Mona and has been a Lecturer in Psychology and Clinical Psychology at both the Mona, Jamaica, and Mount Hope, Trinidad and Tobago campuses in the Faculty of Medical Sciences. He has published papers and book chapters as well as presented reports and papers in the Caribbean, Americas, Europe and Africa. He is the Co-founder and former Chairperson of Caribbean Male Action Network (CariMAN). Dr Weller has served on the Board of the international entity, MenEngage Alliance (Washington, D.C.), and has been an advisor to the Gender Specialist at CARICOM on the promotion of gender equality and strategies for engaging men in this process. He has been a consultant for the Jamaica Red Cross Psychosocial support programme and has been a member of Disaster teams in the region.
He has provided services to several international agencies such as UNDP, UNFPA, UNWOMEN, PAHO and has consulted in several Caribbean territories.

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