UTech, Jamaica Launches Research Project to investigate food insecurity among tertiary level students

Professor Colin Gyles (at podium), Deputy President, UTech, Jamaica endorses the research project while (l-r) Professor Fitzroy Henry, Professor of Public Health Nutrition, COHS, Mrs. Tracey Ann Smith, Policy Analyst, Jamaica Tertiary Education Commission, Dr. Janet Campbell-Shelly, Dean, COHS and Dr. Paul Ivey, Associate Vice President, Graduate Studies, Research & Entrepreneurship, UTech, Ja. look on.

University of Technology, Jamaica through its College of Health Sciences (COHS) has launched a research project titled “Tertiary Education in Jamaica: Hunger for Knowledge or Food”  to investigate and quantify the pervasiveness and effects of food insecurity among tertiary level students in Jamaica. The project was launched on Wednesday, December 11, 2019 at the Technology Innovation Centre (TIC), UTech, Jamaica Papine Campus.

The study will be conducted in five tertiary institutions: UTech, Jamaica, Shortwood Teachers’ College, Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), University of the Commonwealth Caribbean (UCC) and The University of the West Indies, Mona (UWI, Mona) during the second semester of the 2019/2020 Academic Year, with results expected to be published by April, 2020.

Principal Researcher, Dr Fitzroy Henry, Professor of Public Health Nutrition, COHS indicated that the purpose of the study is to obtain “empirical evidence about the state of food insecurity that exists in the tertiary level students across Jamaica.”  He explained further, that “we want to know the profile of these persons who are hungry on a day-to-day basis or for a longer period; whether the factors that affect hunger really relate or correlate to their academic performance and most importantly what can be done about it.” 

The research is primarily funded by the UTech, Jamaica Research Development Fund (RDF), which is administered by the School of Graduate Studies, Research and Entrepreneurship (SGSRE).  Additional  funds have been provided by the Jamaica Tertiary Education Commission (JTEC) to facilitate the inclusion of a fifth tertiary institution in the study.  Mrs. Tracey Ann Smith, Policy Analyst, JTEC, noted that “research plays a critical role in transforming the tertiary sector, as well as providing evidence for policy development and implementation. Therefore, the Commission welcomes and supports the efforts of the University of Technology, Jamaica on taking on this bold research.”

Dr. Paul Ivey, Associate Vice President for Graduate Studies, Research & Entrepreneurship in his remarks, indicated that the project demonstrates the University of Technology, Jamaica’s commitment to fulfilling its mandate of impacting public policy through research, and pointed out that the study was a necessary mechanism to “advance societal welfare” by tackling the challenge faced by tertiary students.  Professor Colin Gyles, Deputy President, and Dr. Janet Campbell-Shelly, Dean, COHS, also endorsed the study, describing it as timely and necessary to the development of the research process at UTech, Jamaica and to the improvement of student life and welfare.

Mr. Kevin Powell, Director of Student Affairs, UCC; Mrs. Ave Marie Francis-Reid, Representative, Shortwood Teachers’ College; Dr. Georgiana Gordon-Strachan, Senior Lecturer, Caribbean Institute for Health Research, UWI Mona; Dr Mark Bloomfield, Representative, CMU; Mr. Kahlil Hutchinson, President, UTech, Jamaica Students’ Union, and Mr. Stephanos Granville, First Year Experience Student Coordinator and Peer Counselor, UTech, Ja. assisted with finalizing the data collection procedures and refining the data collection instrument following the launch.


Michelle Beckford (Mrs.)
Corporate Communications Manager
University of Technology, Jamaica
Telephone: 970-5299
Email: mbeckford@utech.edu.jm