Physicians for Haiti strives towards a future where medical professionals in Haiti have access to the same resources and opportunities to continue their education as doctors in the US, and as a result are motivated and validated. We believe that this is the first step to creating a high-quality and sustainable Haitian healthcare system. Although a vast number of NGOs currently provide care in Haiti, the Haitian medical system itself is lacking. In 1998, Haiti had a physician density of 3 per 10,000 (CIA World Factbook)--a number which has likely decreased since the 2010 earthquake, which damaged all four of Haiti’s medical schools. Furthermore, qualified Haitian doctors tend to leave the country to pursue more promising educational and career opportunities--in 2000, over 81% of Haiti’s university-educated professionals had left the country (Hooper CR, Journal of Medical Ethics, 2008). The lack of qualified Haitian physicians practicing in their home country paired with the influx of foreign medical aid in the post-earthquake era has the potential to create a system of dependency. P4H strives to avoid this outcome by equipping doctors with the tools and guidance they need to become more effective practitioners in their home country. Our ultimate goal is to improve the quality of medical care in Haiti in a way that is sustainable, and that empowers Haitian physicians. We aim to create a system where American and Haitian physicians can collaborate and share tools and ideas, allowing for the highest quality of care. Ultimately, we envision a self-sustaining postgraduate Haitian medical education system that is a source of pride for Haiti, equips Haitian health care professionals to provide high quality care to all Haitians, and is built on a foundation of equity and collaboration.
Physicians for Haiti employs a multifaceted approach in its mission for a sustainable system of postgraduate medical education in Haiti. We are currently working to create a system of computer-based modules in order to easily share medical best-practices. Our focus is to develop materials that are evidence-based, appropriate for the resource-limited settings of our Haitian colleagues, pertinent to the diseases and presentations they deal with, and in the appropriate language (in this case, French). We also use technology to facilitate an online case discussion forum for Haitian physicians, which is run through an online community hosted by The Global Health Delivery Project. Additionally, P4H allows Haitian physicians opportunities to expand their knowledge by organizing conferences on a variety of scales in Haiti, as well as funding and facilitating the travel of Haitian physicians to high-yield medical conferences abroad. P4H also offers professional development and leadership training to Haitian partners, as well as the opportunity for professional mentorship. As a steadily evolving NGO, Physicians for Haiti is often engaging in new initiatives! For a complete account of our activity, please visit physiciansforhaiti.org.
Physicians for Haiti was founded after the 2010 earthquake by a group of Boston-based residents. Alarmed by the waning interest in Haiti just months after the disaster, the group rallied to organize a 6 month memorial concert at the House of Blues in Boston, raising $10,000 for the Partners in Health Mirebalais Hospital, spreading awareness, and creating lasting relationships with local Haitian organizations. In the following months, P4H’s mission evolved, focusing on medical education for Haitian physicians--an issue that resonated with the founders, and which was clearly needed after the earthquake. Since then, P4H has successfully established an active online clinical discussion forum, hosted multiple continuing medical education (CME) and nurse training conferences in Haiti, created an active mentorship network, and initiated tele-consultation services. We continue to work to provide Haitian physicians with high-quality CME tools, and are currently working to produce a compilation of online training modules, focusing on Haiti-specific health problems and tailored to a setting with limited resources. By supporting Physicians for Haiti, a donor does not merely provide one-time aid, but invests in Haiti’s medical education system. At P4H, we believe that creating this sort of sustainable change is critical for the rebuilding of Haiti, and we strive for a future of high-quality medical care, motivated and well-trained physicians, and independence from foreign aid.