PUBLIC HEALTH: the science of protecting and improving community health through preventative medicine, sanitation, and education


PREVENTIVE MEDICINE: a branch of medical science dealing with methods (eg. vaccination) of preventing the occurrence of disease


COMMUNITY MEDICINE: public health services emphasizing preventive medicine and control of disease for members of a given community

Kenneth Standard (8th Dec 1920-2nd Aug 2004)

Caribbean Icons in STI Vol 1

Sir Kenneth Standard, Professor Emeritus of the university of the West Indies (UWI), pioneered teaching and training in public health in the Caribbean. He started academic programmes at UWI Mona in public health for physicians and in community health for non-physicians. He also introduced community medicine in the undergraduate curriculum and developed the Community Health Aides programme for the Ministry of Health, Jamaica.

Kenneth Livingstone Standard was born in Barbados on December 8th 1920. He attended Harrison College and won a Senior 1st Grade Scholarship. He taught at Lynch’s Secondary School in Barbados and became the school’s headmaster.

He was among the first batch of 33 medical students of the University College of the West Indies (UCWI) in Mona, Jamaica. After graduation, he worked at the University College Hospital. Standard attended the Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh and attained his master’s degree in public health in 1959. In 1962, he obtained a doctorate in medicine from the University of London for research on child nutrition.

He placed high importance on community health and began his career as a Medical officer of Health in Barbados in 1958. In 1961 he joined the Department of Social and Preventative Medicine at UWI Mona, Jamaica. He was appointed Head of Department in 1966 and was elevated to Professor in 1968. He attained Jamaican citizenship in 1973. Professor Standard initiated a health aides programme in August Town, Jamaica. In this project, volunteer doctors and nurses conducted short courses to train residents in health care. He also set up a clinic at Mona run by UWI medical students to assist neighbouring communities. This gained the attention of Cornell University, USA.

He made regional and global contributions as a consultant to the Pan American health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO). He chaired the WHO Task Force on Research in Health Education in Family Health and was a long-serving member of the WHO Expert Advisory Panel on Public Health Administration. His manual for community health workers is considered the “bible” of social and preventative medicine.

The Jamaican government awarded him the Commander of the Order of Distinction (1976). He received the Order of Knight Bachelor from Her Majesty the Queen (1982) in recognition of his invaluable work in Public Health and PAHO named him a “Public Health Hero of the Americas” (2002). Professor Standard died in August 2004.