An accomplished Molecular Biologist in the United States, Dr Patrick Allen still remembers his roots in Jamaica's music. On a recent visit, during which which he spoke with Jamaica's most prominent entertainers, Dr. Allen took the time out to chat with RT magazine.
Allen, who was born in the Warika Hills area off Windward Road, recently won an award and was given a grant of $1 million by the United States Government to further his studies and research in the HIV virus which causes AIDS. However, this scientist has undertaken to increase the health consciousness of black people.
Targeting Jamaica, reggae/dancehall music and its artistes as the full force in getting his health awareness message across, he has proposed a concert with some of the top names in Jamiacan entertainment. Dr Allen said that the concert would be an easy way to help get the health message across, while it will also back up the regional meetings on HIV/AIDS awareness, which will be held on February 24 - 25, 2000. However, the concert will only be held in Jamaica, and on the same day as the meeting, which will be held at the Jamaica Grande Hotel.
"The support I get from the artistes is incredible, Luciano, Beenie Man, Third World, Anthony B, Tony Rebel and Culture... you name them, they all understand what I am trying to do and are willing to help out," Dr. Allen said. He told RT that he had already been offerd a venue for the concert.
And with all the responsiblility he has, this home-grown scientist still found time to start The Black Bio-medical Research Movement, a movement which centers around black health issues. "It never really hit me, the disparity of how little blacks there are in the study and the many blacks with the disease (AIDS)," Dr. Allen said. "We suffer the brunt of disparity which is why I started the movement."
He says he decided to start the movement after a fellow scientist told him "You might just be the only black person with the ability and the funds to research HIV in blacks." Dr. Allen says he now feels a little better knowing that there is a health movement in for black people, "I want being healthy to be something cool, like when I go to Japan and see the way people are dressed immediately I know that it's a black people thing."
He says he wants Jamaica to know what's happening, "... because Jamaica and Jamaicans are special and this is for the black people, it's not just about HIV, its about being healthy."