Profile: Wilma Bailey

Professor Wilma Bailey, Gender and Development Centre, University of the West Indies, Mona, Kingston, Jamaica. Wilma’s research interests are primarily in health services, however, she admits, in a small institution ‘one tends to go where you are needed.’

Wilma Bailey was born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago. She earned a B.A. (Honors) in Geography at Newcastle-upon-Tyne (UK) in 1966 and her MA (Geography) at Leicester (UK) in 1968. She migrated to Jamaica, where she was a Junior Research Fellow in census research at UWI until 1971. She joined the Department of Geography, where she was an Assistant Lecturer and Lecturer for 16 years, during which time, under the tutelage of Ann Norton and Barry Floyd, she earned her PhD (Geography, 1974). In 1987, she was promoted to Senior Lecturer and Head, Department of Geography, a post which she held for five years.

In 1992, the Director of the Institute of Social and Economic Research had funding from the Ford Foundation for research in several Caribbean islands and asked Wilma to coordinate it. Beginning as an investigation into the socio-economic system that affected the capacity of individuals to make healthy lifestyle choices, it mushroomed into a fascinating study of family relations that Ford was happy to continue funding and that dominated Wilma’s professional life for more than six years. For that project her group received the Principal’s Research Award. She was then drawn willingly into the Assessments of Impacts and Adaptation to Climate Change Project in the University’s Physics Department. This project involved some 24 countries, and also earned a Principal’s Award. She has since returned to research on service provision. She was promoted to Professor of Medical Geography in 2001, and served as Acting Head of the Department during 2004 and 2005. One project investigated the impact of user fees for preventive care services on health status and coping behaviour of patients in Jamaica. A book outlining their efforts was recently accepted for publication. Wilma has published several books and nearly 40 articles.

Currently, Wilma is employed on a part time basis. She teaches one graduate course on health and the environment, which she organizes around eco-health. A second graduate course covers gender and the family. She has also been preoccupied with geography in the secondary schools She is involved in a Caribbean-wide project that investigates gender relations and achievement in schools, and has produced teaching materials for secondary education. She is the Chief Examiner for the pre-university exams in the Caribbean region.

Wilma may be contacted at

Updated: May 2008