The Atlanta Chapter of KCOBA has selected Dr. Ray Fraser for a singular honor at its upcoming banquet.
For his selfless dedication and unrelenting commitment to the medical needs of his fellowman and, for his unconditional service and loyalty to his alma mater Kingston College, the Board of Directors of KCOBA (Atlanta) takes special pride in having Dr. Ray Fraser as a Guest of Honour at its Ninth Annual Reunion & Awards banquet.
Dr. Ray Fraser was born in Manchester, Jamaica and attended Kingston College. He went on to obtain a Bachelor of Science Degree at the University of the West Indies and on completion, he was awarded a scholarship to study medicine in Havana, Cuba.
He returned home after earning a medical degree and immediately entered government hospital service. Dr. Fraser worked at Mandeville Public, University Hospital and the Kingston Public Hospital. He also did short stints at the St. Ann’s Bay, Falmouth and Princess Margaret Public Hospitals as a relieving surgeon. He later pursued graduate studies in surgery in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Annotto Bay Hospital Renaissance – A 16-Year Pursuit of Excellence
Dr. Fraser is a Consultant General Surgeon, Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS) in Edinburgh. In 1994, he was appointed Senior Medical Officer to the Annotto Bay Hospital in St. Mary where he begun a medical renaissance.
At that time, the hospital had only one doctor on staff; a dilapidated infrastructure with no laboratory; poor operating theatre facilities; no meeting area; a restricted and congested out-patient area; no specialist out-patient clinics; a limited pharmacy area; poor private ward facilities; and, very scarce resources. Being a committed, dedicated, industrious individual and a very strong proactive leader, Dr. Fraser was undaunted by these and many other challenges. He invoked the spirit of his alma mater as he commenced the work of improving the facilities and services offered at the institution so that the community could truly benefit.
He started by establishing alliances with the local business community and lobbied officials in the Ministry of Health and associated agencies, individuals and organizations locally and internationally. He successfully solicited well needed assistance for improving the infrastructure and services offered at the hospital.
One of the first improvements to the hospital infrastructure was the establishment of the laboratory. This is of special significance, as previously all investigations had to be sent to Kingston.
Out of a discussion with a visiting surgeon, Dr. Fraser expressed the need for a laboratory and his follow-up discussions shortly thereafter led to two medical technologists arriving from overseas to assist in the setting up of the laboratory.
A plan was prepared and presented to the private sector which he subsequently lobbied and this led to the donation of J$1.5M from the Jamaica Banana Producers. This donation was used to renovate the old Tuberculosis Ward where the laboratory was located. And which the Ministry of Health helped equip. There is now a fully equipped laboratory offering a variety of services which are utilized by both public and private entities.
The laboratory has become a major income generator at the hospital. The refurbished Old Tuberculosis Ward now houses the conference room which is used as the Regional Training Centre, doctors’ offices in addition to the laboratory. His further negotiations with the private sector resulted in the refurbishing of the old private ward at a cost of J$¾ million
Dr. Fraser’s appetite for success, passion for the job and commitment to continued development of the hospital propelled him to establish an international alliance with the Deaconess Hospital in Indiana, USA, where he successfully spearheaded the twinning of Annotto Bay Hospital with that institution in 1996. This partnership has led to tremendous improvement in the hospital infrastructure including equipment, supplies, staff training, as well as extended clinical programmes in many surrounding communities.
To date, the estimated value of the assistance from the Deaconess Hospital is in excess of J$120M, and this figure does not include shipping, travel expenses, accommodation and manpower for the many groups that have come and assisted over the years. Deaconess Hospital has also assisted with the refurbishing of the operating theatre and installation of autoclave, outpatient department, medical record, laundry department, as well as wards and corridors.
Dr. Fraser’s continued work broadened the scope of this international alliance, as many individuals in training sought elective exposure at the hospital and were accepted and welcomed. These individuals have all indicated that the exposure, knowledge and experience gained are invaluable and have, and will play, a critical role in their path to development.
He also mentors a number of medical students and doctors trained abroad in preparing for examinations, which has had a tremendous impact on their orientation to practice in Jamaica. He negotiated with Doctors on Call, a group of specialist surgeons, doctors, nurses and other personnel out of New York, who for five years volunteered and rendered services and training on their once-to-twice yearly one week missions, where a number of specialist surgeries in ENT, Plastic and Urology were done.
More recently, he established an alliance with the Jamaican Awareness Association of California, where another set of volunteer specialist doctors donated laparoscopic equipment for minimal invasive surgery (keyhole surgery) and also offering their expertise by visiting once to twice per year on one week missions to render services by performing laparoscopic surgeries, as well as in-service training to medical personnel.
This programme has been expanded to include an annual seminar with hands-on training, which exposes doctors and medical personnel from across the island to laparoscopic procedures. This group also provides medical supplies and accommodation to doctors and nurses who they facilitate for in-service training at their overseas facilities.
This is an ongoing and expanding programme, which has facilitated the Annotto Bay Hospital to become the leading Type C hospital to offer laparoscopic procedures. The monetary value of this group’s contribution thus far is in excess of J$150M.
Additionally, his negotiations resulted in a group of volunteer Ophthalmologists visiting the hospital at least once per year to perform eye surgeries, as well as eye clinics in the surrounding communities over a three year period.
Despite a very successful medical career and his pivotal involvement in upgrading the Annotto Bay Hospital, Dr. Fraser still finds time to be involved in social groups and professional organizations. He is a member of the following associations:
- Past Chairman of the North East Branch of the Medical Association of Jamaica
- Medical Association of Jamaica
- Association of Surgeons of Jamaica
- Past Member of the Medical Council of Jamaica
- Association of Government Consultants of Jamaica
- Director of Winchester Surgical & Medical Institute
- Chairman of the Annotto Bay High School from 2001-2009
- Member of the St. Mary Health & Environmental Committee
- Chairman of Axium Football Club/Annotto Bay, St. Mary
Dr. Fraser’s involvement in community work and health developments culminated in him receiving the Mayor’s Medal in 2007.
Contributions to Kingston College
Dr Fraser has always assisted Kingston College since he left the institution in 1973. However, in 2008, he took a major step toward making more fundamental decisions in the Jamaica Chapter of the KCOBA by being elected to the Board of Directors. By the following year, he became Chairman of the Board.
In 2009, he initiated the first mini-summit by mobilizing all stakeholders to participate. Out of the summit emerged two committees, a Technical Committee and a Committee set up to deal specifically with the construction of water well at the North Street campus.
To date, Dr. Fraser he has obtained approval for the digging and commissioning of the Well. The Technical Committee has aggressively tackled priority projects and has since completed plans for the expansion of the Douglas Forrest Building, as well as similar work on the Science Block and the Sports Pavilion at North Street. Incidentally, the renovation of the Science Block should start this summer.
Under his leadership, there is a revitalisation of the mentorship programme at both campuses.
Another highlight of his tenure has been the mobilization of a team of doctors and medical personnel to provide school entry medicals for first year students with the professionals fees amounting to over J$300,000 deferred to the school.
These fees were used to establish a PBX system and renovate the Science Lab at Melbourne. Throughout the year, a number of medical clinics were organized for the athletics team and the football squads, and comprehensive medical exams, coordinating investigations and arranging treatment were undertaken when necessary.
Ray, in collaboration with the Overseas-based Chapters, established an Annual Appreciation Luncheon for teachers as well as a scholarship programme to assist teachers in pursuing post graduate studies.
Under his watch, there has been significant improvement in the relationship with the overseas chapters through the coordination and streamlining of the Association’s activities and efforts to bridge the communication gap that exists among stakeholders and the group that he directly presides over.
In May 2010, he became President and effective Chairman of the restructured Board and Executive, which merged into one body at the recent Annual General Meeting.
As Head of the 13-man Board of Directors, Dr Fraser has identified major goals to be accomplished and has embarked on a new strategic direction by mobilizing and establishing progressive work teams to undertake achieving targeted goals within appropriate timelines.
Known for his calm, cool demeanor, he has intervened, mediated and managed to control several potentially explosive situations at the school.