Jun 26, 2023
In honor of Caribbean American Heritage Month, PAGNY is proud to feature Dr. Cameron A. Wilkinson, CBE, CSM, MD, MBBS, FCCS, FACS!
In July 2021, the International Monetary Fund commended the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis for its successful management of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the severe impact of the pandemic on the tourism-dependent economy, the timely implementation of national health policies—which Dr. Wilkinson played a vital role in developing—kept domestic infections in 2020 the lowest in the Western Hemisphere.
A native of St. Kitts, Dr. Wilkinson was no stranger to the health care needs of his community. Following the untimely death of his mother when he was just 11 years old, he found strength in his community that subscribed to the African philosophy, “it takes a village to raise a child.” It was in his village that Dr. Wilkinson learned how to care for others, especially those less fortunate than himself.
After graduating at the top of his high school class and winning the coveted State’s Scholarship, Dr. Wilkinson earned his Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degrees (MBBS) after a seven-year course of study. He received awards for his distinguished scholarship in surgery, medicine, and therapeutics at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Barbados. Dr. Wilkinson attributes his academic success to optimistic Caribbean attitudes: “While growing up in the Caribbean, I was taught and made to believe that I could be anything I wanted to be, that the sky was the limit.”
“While growing up in the Caribbean, I was taught and made to believe that I could be anything I wanted to be, that the sky was the limit.”
Dr. Cameron A. Wilkinson, CBE, CSM, MD, MBBS, FCCS, FACS
Attending Surgeon, General Surgery, Surgical Endoscopy, and Trauma
Dr. Wilkinson brought this hopeful ethos to the United States. when he began his General Surgery residency at NYC Health + Hospitals/Harlem. The opportunity to provide care to the Harlem community and his “Caribbean-American brothers and sisters” proved to be a fulfilling one; as a resident, he received the Program Director’s Prize for his outstanding work as Chief Resident and received a Citation for Outstanding Service to the Greater Harlem Community. Dr. Wilkinson would go on to complete a one-year fellowship in Critical Care and Surgical Endoscopy at Harlem Hospital. He cites Harlem Hospital leaders—such as Dr. Harold Freeman, General Surgery Program Director—as some of the most inspiring role models from his career.
In 1997, Dr. Wilkinson returned to the Caribbean, where he engaged deeply with the health of his community. He would eventually become the Chief Surgeon and Medical Chief of Staff of the Health Institutes in St. Kitts, the President of the University of the West Indies Alumni Association and the Caribbean College of Surgeons, and a Clinical Lecturer at Windsor University School of Medicine and the University of Medicine and Health Sciences in St. Kitts.
Dr. Wilkinson was awarded the title of Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) at Buckingham Palace by King Charles for his contributions to the field of medicine in January 2020.
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Wilkinson was at the forefront of the Caribbean nation’s fight against the virus. For his efforts, he received a national honor—the Companion of Star Merit (CSM) Award—for outstanding performance in a national crisis.
In 2022, Dr. Wilkinson made the choice to return to H+H/Harlem, the hospital where he refined his medical education decades before, as an Attending Surgeon in General Surgery, Surgical Endoscopy, and Trauma. Dr. Wilkinson shared: “I feel very blessed that I had the opportunity to come and give back to the institution and community that gave me the opportunity to fulfill my dream of becoming a surgeon.” He continued, “I am very happy to be working for an organization [PAGNY] that is committed to the well-being of its providers.”
Dr. Wilkinson’s optimism and belief in the future of medicine is infectious. Actively involved in resident surgical education at H+H/Harlem, Dr. Wilkinson is full of inspiring metaphors: “No matter what direction the wind blows,” Dr. Wilkinson says, the next generation of medical providers should “adjust their sails to stay on course.” He also cites his wife of 38 years, Arlene Patricia Wilkinson, and a Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem, “The Ladder of St. Augustine,” as sources of strength.