Karen Sealey

Pan American Health Organization

The high prevalence and consequences of chronic diseases plague all countries, even the most developed ones. The United States, with its wide range of health situations across the states and communities, has an opportunity to demonstrate different innovative and creative approaches to prevent and control these diseases and so be an exemplar for other nations.


Dr. Karen Sealey is the first Regional Director for the Caribbean in UNAIDS and heads the Regional Support Team which serves the Member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and all the other Spanish, French, and Dutch countries and territories in the Caribbean.

Dr. Sealey is a medical graduate of the University of the West Indies and obtained her Masters of Public Health degree from Columbia University in New York.

She joined UNAIDS in May 2006 after 18 years with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). She has the unique experience of managing individual country and sub-regional programmes in the Caribbean having served as PAHO’s Caribbean Programme Coordinator based in Barbados. In that capacity she spearheaded the consultative process which resulted in the Caribbean Health Promotion Charter, and established a comprehensive media and health programme, which included the Awards for Excellence in Health Journalism, now in its 11th year.  Under her watch, the inaugural edition of Health Conditions in the Caribbean was produced and new programmes like mental health were introduced into PAHO’s technical cooperation programmes.  She was the first Chair of the Barbados UN Theme Group on HIV/AIDS.  Prior to joining PAHO, Dr. Sealey was the Director of Health Planning in the Ministry of Health in Trinidad for 6 years.

In her last position with PAHO, Dr. Sealey was responsible for Planning, Program Budget and Project Support.  She coordinated the processes for formulating PAHO’s new regional program budget policy, introduced the first priority setting process for budget allocation, advanced the application of results-based planning and management in PAHO and supervised PAHO’s support for extra-budgetary projects including its support to countries seeking and implementing Global Fund grants.

Dr. Sealey is passionate about health development in the Caribbean and is now focusing her attention on HIV, a priority public health problem which she describes as one that is forcing Caribbean communities to reflect on the extent to which it is walking the talk of the human rights values that the society and governments espouse.


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