Sherine Mungal advocates for health, wellness in Trinidad and Tobago

Eidetic's managing director Sherine Mungal says part of the motivation behind U The Caribbean Health Digest was a deeper desire to contribute to creating healthier people and communities in TT and the region.
Photos courtesy Sherine Mungal -
Eidetic's managing director Sherine Mungal says part of the motivation behind U The Caribbean Health Digest was a deeper desire to contribute to creating healthier people and communities in TT and the region. Photos courtesy Sherine Mungal -

When Sherine Mungal decided to leave a directorship position at a prestigious advertising agency to start her own business, she never dreamed that today she would be using her small company as a platform through which she would be advocating for health and wellness in the TT.

The managing director of the Freeport-based communication and marketing company Eidetic Ltd found herself at the helm of the U The Caribbean Health Digest – a publication she said was conceived in 2008 out of a personal need for credible information on medical issues relating to family members of both herself and her business and life partner, Stuart Fraser. The magazine then paved the way for her and the Eidetic team to plan and host the U Health and Wellness Exposition at the Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain, two years later.

Managing director of Eidetic and co-founder of U The Caribbean Health Digest. -

"Back then we didn't have as much easy access to health information as we do now, and Stuart and I recognised that we needed to fill a gap, so the magazine came out of our own needs," Mungal told WMN.

But, she said, their motivation went beyond just merely gathering the information and disseminating it.

“It stemmed from a deeper desire to contribute to creating healthier people and communities…So we pulled together the most dedicated team of researchers, writers, and editors…This team extended beyond TT, reaching several other Caribbean territories. We engaged a medical team who meticulously reviewed every article, ensuring our content adhered to the highest standards of good publishing practices.”

Eidetic's managing director Sherine Mungal, centre, with members of her staff Samantha Dhoon, left, and Lorraine Biran. -

But for Mungal, though the articles and editorials on the extensive list of health-related topics U covered were important, they were not as engaging or interactive as she would have liked. In 2010, her company took it a step further by planning and hosting the first U Health and Wellness Exposition.

“It grew exponentially in five years, not only through public participation, but with organisations that engage and understand its end consumers. It couldn't come fast enough; we grew from 25 exhibitors in 2010 to 76 in 2015.”

Unfortunately, for a number of reasons, among them a dip in the country’s economy, she said other projects became a priority for her company, and the expo temporarily fell off its annual agenda.

But Mungal made sure the magazine and its objectives remained a priority – a commitment that led to the magazine's winning several Caribbean and international awards for creativity and content. In 2021, it extended its reach to a global audience with its transition from hard copy to a digital format, now with over 25,000 subscriptions. It is hosted on Magzter, the world’s largest digital newsstand.

“This allowed us to extend our reach and cater to the changing preferences and behaviours of modern audiences,” she said, especially since she has passed the baton of editor in chief to her daughter Amira.

Eidetic managing director Sherine Mungal, left, with Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh, centre, and business and life partner Stuart Fraser at the opening of the U Health and Wellness Exposition, at the Hyatt Regency, on February 26. - Meiyora Studios

“When we started U, Amira was ten years old, and she was always interested in the work that we put into it, so it is only fitting that she be the one to take it into the future. Plus she understands the intricacies of the digital world better than I do,” Mungal said with a chuckle.

Now, as she looks at her daughter navigating the creative and publishing world, hosting panel discussions and promoting the work they do here in TT and in Washington, DC, where Amira lives, Mungal can't help but see much of her younger self.

“When I left my job at the agency in 2001, I was the only non-family member director at the company. I remember starting off in admin, then I moved up to management, then directorship.

“I decided to leave all that because I recognised I had so much more potential to explore, and at the back of my mind I’d always wanted to have my own business.”

She said she and Fraser merged her experience in the operations in the advertising industry with his creativity and put their all into starting and growing Eidetic.

“At that time, when we opened Eidetic, Amira was about three, so she grew up in the business.”

And it’s the same with her ten-year-old son Jackson.

U The Caribbean Health Digest editor in chief Amira Mungal, left, with Miss Universe TT Faith Gillezeau, centre, and Eidetic managing director Sherine Mungal. -

“Our members of staff are like family, so he spends a great deal of time with us at the office.”

This, she says, makes it easier to find that balance between life and work with which so many working women struggle.

"I balance it for the most part, but there are times when I feel anxious and uncertain. The good thing is that we have a good team and we have a great relationship. We bounce things off each other, discuss and analyse before we make any decisions.

"Working with your partner is a plus because he's there and part of everything," whether it's working from the office or their Gran Couva home.

"Our children are involved in everything. Even for the expo this year, which ran from February 26-28 after an eight-year hiatus, I told Jackson's teacher he would be out of school for the three days because he needed to be part of it (the expo), and she agreed that it would be a good learning opportunity for him.

"As a family we are probably even closer because of it, because business is a family affair."

And as far as friendships and socialisation go, her busy work schedule doesn't compromise those either.

"I have a lot of friends. Sometimes we do not see each other often, or connect as often as we should, but because the friendships are so solid, it's often enough. And when we do meet up, we enjoy it."

She said after eight years she decided it was more than time for the expo to make a comeback, especially after the covid19 pandemic which left a number of other health complications in its wake.

“The planning took at least six months. It was a lot of work because every stage required so much attention to detail. There were proposals to write and send out, partners, sponsors and exhibitors to meet with and convince to come on board, creating panels for parallel discussions, etc. For an event of this magnitude you have to think about it strategically, because whatever you plan to put out there has to align with the objectives of the sponsors, partners and exhibitors.”

Mungal is proud of how the return of the event has played out for all stakeholders.

“Not only did we carefully curate an impressive line-up of companies and organisations, all enthusiastic about sharing information on the benefits of their products and services, but I believe that we also fostered open dialogue on topics that significantly impact the well-being of our citizens.”

Among the topics discussed at the expo in panel forums was the pivotal role of innovation in managing non-communicable diseases, IVF technology and fertility, mental wellness in young people, and the harmful effects of smoking and vaping. The exhibitors were diverse and included traditional and non-traditional health and wellness-related companies.

“Ours is the only health and wellness expo in the country of this magnitude that is brought to the population for free. The response has been phenomenal, from panellists, exhibitors, visitors, and that’s how we measure success.”

Mungal is convinced that TT has what it takes to market itself as a medical-tourism destination.

“Sometimes I think about the extent of our impact as a small company and I wonder, ‘Can our contributions genuinely make a difference, and can we play a meaningful role in shaping positive outcomes?’

"Then I remember, eight years ago, at the last expo, we gathered in the same room with a group of inspiring and high-profile individuals. During that seminar, we explored the concept of medical tourism; we were fortunate enough to engage a senior consultant from Joint Commission International, one of the world's leading accreditation organisations.”

She said the consultant had emphasised how crucial accreditation is to medical tourism and how important it is for TT to recognise its significance.

“At that time, only one or two private healthcare facilities had acquired accreditation. Fast-forward to today, and we now have several accredited health facilities in TT, and I would say we are well on our way to being considered as a viable medical-tourism destination. This journey underscores the notion that even small efforts can make a substantial difference over time.”

She said she envisions taking the expo out of TT to give local companies exposure to bigger markets out there.

“It’s something we’re working on, and at some point it's going to happen. Our local exhibitors and partners will go on an international platform and show what TT has to offer."


"Sherine Mungal advocates for health, wellness in Trinidad and Tobago"

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