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Bahamian Scholar, Dr. Desiree Cox, MD, PhD

Updated: Aug 22, 2023

I have chosen to begin with a woman, whose academic and artistic/creative excellence transcends the excellent accomplishments of Bahamians in a global arena, as she was blessed to become, not only the first Bahamian to win a Rhodes Scholarship, but also the first woman from the British Caribbean region - Dr. Desiree Cox.

Dr. Cox, the oldest of two daughters, did not hail from the elites of Bahamian society. Her father was a barber, and her mother, a secretary in a country of 407,906 people, in 2021, the richest country in the Caribbean, and is ranked 14th. in North America for nominal GDP, one would say came from humble beginnings. The family sacrificed tremendously to ensure that Dr. Cox's educational foundation was solid, by sending her to a private school that cost two-thirds of her mother's salary. Dr. Desiree did not disappoint. Her parents dreamed about her being the first of their family to study on the University level. She accomplished that goal, but set, and exceeded her personal goals, the first being to study at Oxford University, and to have a global impact on medicine and healthcare.

As stated, blessed to become the first Bahamian and the first woman from the British Caribbean region to win a Rhodes Scholarship. She studied medicine at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar as well as a Commonwealth Scholar, winning a Pembroke College Prize for top grades in her first year of medical school and a Radcliffe Infirmary Prize in her final year of medical school. Immediately after medical school, she went on to Cambridge University to study for her Master of Philosophy degree (MPhil) and doctorate (PhD) degrees in History and Philosophy of Sciences.

Dr. Desiree Cox overcame astronomical adversities. While she was studying for her PhD, in the final year of writing her thesis, she found herself homeless, living with the crippling fear of being unable to afford a place to live. She spent many nights in a sleeping bag under the desk in her office, sleeping in cupboards and friend’s couches, living from hand-to-mouth with the equivalent of only $100 a month to live on, scrounging leftover vegetables from local market vendors, with all her belongings in a rucksack. (She still keeps the sack to remind her of the sacrifices of courage and choosing the hero’s journey.)

Dr. Desiree Cox continues to blaze trails in the medical field, having become a worldwide thought-leader in the stem cell field. She is the CEO and founder of a unique global regenerative health platform called HEALinc (Health, Self-Efficacy, Analytics and Life-Design Innovation Incubator). HEALinc is the leading platform for matching top stem cell and regenerative health providers with people in need of alternative solutions for their healing process. She has been spearheading the development of the Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine industry in The Bahamas and the implementation and integration of exponential and digital technologies in The Bahamas, the Caribbean and Latin America. She is the Founder of the health innovation incubator, the HEALinc.

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