PANCAP remembers Dr Michel de Groulard, former UNAIDS Country Director
PANCAP joins the Region in mourning the loss of HIV and public health adviser to the Caribbean, Dr. Michel de Groulard. Michel had more than 30 years of experience in International Public Health, with around 25 years dedicated to HIV.
Michel was a French citizen who made the Caribbean his home. He lived in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago for several years until his passing.
A medical doctor by training, Michel worked on several public health projects for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and provided healthcare to remote desert villages in Mauritania and Cameroon. He also served as a Public Health Officer in the Grenada Health Ministry and an HIV Project Manager at the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre.
Michel joined UNAIDS in 2001 as a Senior Partnerships Adviser. He went on to serve the Caribbean region in several positions with UNAIDS, including Senior Program Adviser to the region for more than seven years. Last month, he concluded a two-year appointment as interim Country Director for the Guyana/Suriname office which he opened in Georgetown in 2005.
In his HIV work over the years, he continuously emphasised the role of civil society at all levels of the response to address risk and vulnerability, gender issues and barriers to access services. Michel provided technical support for creating the Caribbean Network of People living with HIV in 1996 and establishing the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition in 2005. For several years he was Vice Chair of Community Actions Resource, Trinidad and Tobago’s oldest organization serving people living with HIV.
Above all Michel was a champion for the marginalized and excluded, especially people living with HIV and key populations. He ensured that communities’ concerns and voices were put at the centre of planning and advocacy. He is remembered by civil society for championing their critical importance in shaping public policy and delivering services.
Michel never truly retired. Always energetic and committed, he took on several challenges following his initial departure from UNAIDS in 2013. This included the role of Regional Manager for the USAID/PEPFAR LINKAGES programme for the Eastern and Southern Caribbean. He also volunteered with the Alliance Française in Port-of-Spain.
His interests in epidemiology and public health were enduring. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, he compiled and disseminated daily country and regional graphs tracking new infections and deaths in the Caribbean. His nightly WhatsApp messages to friends and colleagues continued until the night before his passing.
We extend our deepest condolences to his family, colleagues and friends. The Region has lost a dedicated champion for vulnerable populations.