School Of Pharmacy Haiti Global Health Experience
Who we are
We are a group of six pharmacy students (Danielle Schillero, Brooke Lalley, Rachel West, Amberly Morningstar, Sydney Keremes, and Camryn Vecera) who will be participating in a global health trip to Cap Haitien, Haiti in March 2019.
Our connection with Haiti
Several years ago, Duquesne University School of Pharmacy faculty members Dr Jordan Covvey and Dr Kevin Tidgewell were introduced to Christopher Pfeiffer, Executive Director of the Espwa Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to serving in Cap Haitien, Haiti through projects in medical missions as well as work, family and ministry support. Drs Covvey and Tidgewell were impressed with the long-standing relationships and locally-focused mission used by the Espwa Foundation, and embarked on a partnership to get students involved to further the work being done.
In 2017, the first pharmacy student team (including Briana Schreckengost, Thomas Handerhan, Tess Calcagno, Kelly Mazzei, Allison Kachel and Nathan Gartland) traveled to Haiti along with Chris, Jordan and Kevin for a Spring-Break Away trip. During this week in Cap Haitien, the students focused primarily on providing assistance to St Anthony’s Medical Clinic, a primary medical clinic serving local residents in Cap Haitien. The clinic is staffed by two local doctors, Dr Eugene Maklin and Dr Rodlin Paul. Students helped to triage patients (taking blood pressures and heart rates), shadow the doctors, dispense medications from the pharmacy, organize supplies and worked to develop a clinic intake form in Haitian Creole. The clinic subsists on donated medications to treat a local population without other avenues to access care for chronic disease, infections and other ailments.
Other activities for the week included tours of healthcare facilities in Cap Haitien, learning about local culture, meeting with partners for Espwa’s other local projects, and a visit to a beautiful Haitian beach. This initial group of students were so engaged by their experience in Haiti that Drs Covvey and Tidgewell have committed to creating a longitudinal partnership with Espwa and St Anthony’s Medical Clinic, with hopes to continue bringing students to Haiti to help and learn, and to provide financial support for the amazing work being done. Read more about our inaugural trip here.
Facts about Haiti
Most people know Haiti as the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, and the location of a 2010 earthquake that killed an estimated 217,000 people and rendered more than 2 million others homeless. Following this, an outbreak of cholera hit Haiti, killing more than 9,000 additional people.
However, there is much more to know about Haiti. Cap Haitien is home to the Citadel, the largest fortress in the Western Hemisphere. In 1801, ex-slave Toussaint L’Ouverture led a revolt of nearly ½ million slaves in the Cap-Haitien area against French colonists to establish the first black republic in the world. The country subsequently was the first in the hemisphere to abolish slavery, a full 65 years prior to the United States. The country today continues to have a rich culture, including an emphasis on Catholic faith, music/dance, a love of football (soccer) and a focus on family. Haitians have bright smiles, warm hearts and an overwhelming kindness in their nature.
Cap Haitien enjoys a close relationship with the Pittsburgh region. A number of local Pittsburgh churches regularly attend mission trips in Cap Haitien, and a major orphanage in Cap Haitien (EBAC) was started by two women from the local Western Pennsylvania area. In a way, Pittsburgh and Cap Haitien function as ‘sister cities.’
Our plans for this trip
Continuing our work from last year, we will be travelling again to Cap Haitien this year. Students will be spending their Spring Break donating their time, money and energy to work with St. Anthony’s Medical Clinic to identify and assist with local healthcare needs. It is hopeful that this year we can help to improve medication dispensing in the clinic through using picture labeling to help patients take their medicine more easily.
Our impacts in Haiti and here at Duquesne University
Our global health mission focuses on building a long-lasting relationship with partners, and focusing on locally-communicated needs, rather than a model that has us visit Haiti intermittently to ‘save the day.’ The Espwa Foundation has spent considerable time fostering relationships through a model of sustainability, and we are privileged to help further this goal.
Through this work, a transformational change in our students occurs, where their eyes and hearts become more open to the world around them. They are able to apply Duquesne’s mission of service within their own profession, and see the changes they can make in the world.
What your donations provide
Our students financially support this trip and our expenses, on top of significant student loans to complete their pharmacy education. Therefore, any donation is helpful to allow us to offset costs for their time in Cap-Haitien, and for the work they are doing in the clinic.
Please Donate Today and Spread the Word on Social Media
We ask that you please donate today and follow along for updates at #PharmDUHaiti!