Avril Siung Chang (Date of Birth: 9th May 1949)

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Avril Siung was born on May 9th, 1949 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England but grew up in Trinidad. She attended Tranquillity Girls’ Primary School and then Bishop Anstey High School in Port-of-Spain. She pursued her first degree in zoology at the University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and attained her doctorate in zoology from The University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine, Trinidad.

In 1978, Dr Siung-Chang started her career as a researcher at the Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA), and rose to senior management and research positions there. She is credited with establishing the IMA’s Environmental Research Programme in 1982. She spearheaded extensive research on the marine environment as well as studies on the effects of both land and marine pollution. She contributed to the country’s scientific development by nurturing a generation of scientists and technologists at the IMA, many of whom now have important positions at local companies and the Environmental Management Authority (EMA).

Dr Siung-Chang has served a number of key government committees and agencies, and also many international bodies including the United Nations Environmental Programme, the International Ocean Commission, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). She was on the Standing Committee on the Environment, which advised Government on the establishment of the EMA and drafted bills for the prohibition of pollution.

She is currently an Environmental Health Advisor with PAHO/WHO. In this role, she has contributed to risk assessment and reduction, disaster preparedness training for communities and hospitals, the dissemination of a public health programme, the improvement of solid waste management and the promotion of standards for water and food safety.