The dedicated doctors on Island offer a wide range of services. The Cayman Islands has over 200 registered healthcare facilities (including pharmacies, laboratories, physician practices and therapy clinics), over 500 registered practitioners, and numerous private specialists.

Dr Ecke

Dr Ulrich Ecke

Dr Ulrich Ecke, from Germany, is an MD, ENT, Head and Neck, Otolaryngology at ENT in Cayman Ltd.

Why did you choose your field of speciality?

Before starting my studies, I completed nursing training in an ENT Department of a University Hospital. I was very impressed by the diversity of the subject area and the representation of all ages of patients.

What challenges you have you faced during the last year with the Covid-19 pandemic?

ENT specialists work very close to the patient, examining the ear, nose and throat, either with a microscope, endoscope or often the naked eye. Direct contact with the patient is important and necessary for the correct diagnosis. We had to rework our hygiene concept in order to provide best possible protection of our patients and staff.

What would you say to a child interested in becoming a doctor?

It is a journey that never ends. Becoming a doctor is not a profession, it is a vocation. It demands full commitment, but is very rewarding. Taking care of patients always has an impact on their lives. If you are not afraid of taking that responsibility then becoming a doctor might just be the right thing for you.

What’s the most common issue you encounter at your clinic in children?

The most common issue we encounter in our office are children with recurrent respiratory difficulties, either due to allergies or enlarged adenoid vegetations. The latter involves a blocked nasal breathing passageway and often middle ear effusion. A middle ear effusion can be quite influential on a child’s speech and intellectual development due to the impact on their hearing.

Which actor would you choose to play you in a film about your life?

I don’t think my life is worth a film, but it would have to be Tim Robbins.

Melissa Mascaro

Dr Melissa Mascaro

Dr Melissa Mascaro, from the USA, is a Primary Care Sport Medicine Physician at Cayman Clinic and NovoClinic Ltd.

Why did you choose your field of speciality?

As a Division 1 gymnast, I had not only endured injuries myself but also witnessed teammates who suffered from the same. Many careers were cut short by physicians who were not experienced in the specialised care of athletes. My goal is to keep my patients healthy enough to stay active.

What inspired you to become a doctor?

During my junior high school years I was fortunate enough to shadow different physicians in a career programme developed to expose students to medical specialties.

Which other doctor or medical professional on Island would you recommend for a ‘Golden Stethoscope Award’ and why?

Dr Virginia Hobday is the first that comes to mind. Compassionate, caring, and an altruistic physician.

What would you say to a child interested in becoming a doctor?

I would offer to let them come and spend time in the office with me to see what they are signing up for. Having that opportunity to shadow at an early age can spark a child's interest and gives them a chance to ask questions.

What is the most common sports injury you see?

I would have to say it depends on the season. Pre-season there are lots of overuse and tendon issues but I would say shoulders, knees and hips are the most common complaints that come through my office year round.

How can kids reduce their chances of getting injured when playing sports?

Kids need proper nutrition, hydration and sleep before practice or games. Active rest is important to let the body heal. A gradual increase in training is key to long term success.

Dr laurence Van H

Dr Laurence Van Hanswijck De Jonge

Dr Laurence van Hanswijck de Jonge, from the Netherlands, is a Clinical Psychologist at KidsAbility.

Why did you choose your field of speciality?

I was always interested in biology and medicine. We moved countries a lot due to my dad’s job. This exposed me to many cultures and a spectrum of people, sparking my interest in the human mind. I was lucky enough to be living in the Netherlands when a brand-new study opened up called Biological Psychology. The perfect blend between medicine and psychology, which lead me to neuropsychology.

What would you say to a child interested in becoming a psychologist?

Go for it! However, know that it is a long study, and you don’t just finish at a Bachelor's. Also know that as humbling and fulfilling as it is, you need to first learn how to take care of yourself and to ask for help before you can help others.

If you had to write a biography who would it be dedicated to?

My husband. He has been my rock and supported me through my whole journey.

What would you like to improve the lives of kids with SEN in Cayman?

I feel that there could be more support for these kids. Additionally, I think more education and support for educators is needed. Early intervention is key.

Do you believe in an integrated classroom setting and if so, why?

Yes and no. I think it is case dependent. I think it is a great way of working with kids so that they feel integrated in the classroom and not singled out. However, for some children this doesn’t work. Some are highly distractable and can absorb more if they are in a quiet room.

Would you like your own children to work in the same field?

It is quite sweet, a few children I have seen over the years have gone into the field of Psychology. It warms my heart. Being able to help another human being to me is humbling. I would be so proud if my children were to follow suit.

Pauline Vandergriten

Pauline VanderGrinten

Pauline VanderGrinten is a licenced Mental Health Counselor and the Clinical Services Director at Hope Academy’s Clinical Services – rated “Excellent” from school inspectors for their therapeutic services in 2021.

Who inspired you to work in mental health?

My grandmother was my inspiration, she was a giving and empathetic person who taught me to see the positives in everyone and the importance of helping others in need and giving back to your community.

What is your greatest achievement to date?

Professionally, my greatest achievement to date is becoming an expert in treatment for OCD/Anxiety Spectrum Disorders and bringing this knowledge to Cayman. Personally, my greatest achievement is overcoming my own trauma and dealing with my chronic illnesses to keep balance in my life.

Which three medical specialists would you like on your team and why?

The three medical specialists I would like on my team would be Dr. Aaron Beck, pioneer in Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy. His contributions to mental health therapy changed the way we looked at treatment.

Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, for her ground-breaking work and development with 5 stages of grief and her lifelong study of death and dying.

Dr. Bradley Riemann, the Chief Clinical Officer and Clinical Director of the OCD Center and my supervisor at Roger’s Memorial Hospital. He set up one of the few residential and partial hospitalisation programmes specifically for the treatment for OCD and Anxiety spectrum disorders and taught me skills I continue to utilise today.

What challenges do you think kids with SEN face in Cayman?

The lack of the extra support they require to be successful in their mainstream school education. We now have more therapeutic services than in all the years I have been here in Cayman but there is still a lack of education, understanding and funding.