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Archive for March, 2011

By Gina Epifano, PT

There’s something about Haiti that gets into your heart and just won’t go away. It’s impossible to meet the people and not leave a piece of your heart behind. The only solution I have found is to keep going back!

I’ve volunteered as a physical therapist at Project Medishare three times since the earthquake, and am inspired by the transformation of the physical therapy department in one year.

Gina Epifano with Nadine who was recovering from skin graft surgery and walking for the first time!

In April of 2010, I had my first experience at Project Medishare’s Field Hospital as a PT. I spent my week in pediatrics, helping children learn to move and walk again.
Working at the tent hospital was a special experience…so many clinicians working together to save lives, doing whatever it took to get the job done. I knew I’d be back.

In June of 2010, I returned to Project Medishare, which had recently moved to new location and partnership with Hospital Bernard Mevs. The Rehabilitation Department at Hospital Project Medishare Bernard Mevs now consisted of two long-term American physical therapists. Jason Miller was beginning to develop an amputee program while Alyson Cavanaugh was creating a specialty rehabilitation program for spinal cord injury patients. They were also starting to train local Haitian rehabilitation technicians to assist in care provision. So much progress in two short months!

When returned to Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare this month, I was immediately aware of how far the Rehabilitation Department had come. I was whisked into an amputee running clinic that was being held as part of the grand unveiling of Project Medishare’s state-of-the-art Prosthetics Lab, built in partnership with Ossür and Knights of Columbus.

In September, Knights of Columbus began partnering with Project Medishare to provide every amputee children with a prosthetic limb and the physical therapy necessary to learn how to use the new limb. In addition, Jason has begun his own fundraising efforts through his website http://www.helpinghaitiamputees.com. Through the site Jason created, individuals can sponsor adult amputee patients to receive prostheses as well.

Rehabilitation department at Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare. Photo courtesy of Gina Epifano.

Jeff Mcnutt, PT, has joined the long-term rehab team and manages the wound care program for both in-patients and out-patients. He continues to train local Haitian staff in appropriate wound care techniques. Locally trained technicians are now providing daily care in both out-patient PT and the Spinal Cord Injury Unit.

Project Medishare’s Rehabilitation Department has come a long way in a year, but there is still work to be done. Volunteers are still needed; supplies are still needed. Consider sharing your time and skills with our neighbors in Haiti. Maybe I’ll see you there…

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The two beautiful ambulances cleared customs today and were taken to Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare. The City of Miami Beach donated the ambulances to Project Medishare and outfitted with funds raised by the Miami Beach City Commissioners’ Rock Haiti event at the Byron Carlysle theater last spring.

Project Medishare would like to send a big, huge thank you to Commissioner Ed Tobin, Mayor Mattie Bower, all the City Of Miami Beach Commissioner’s and The City of Miami Beach Fire Department—all who raised the funds to outfit the ambulances and provide spare tires and parts.

Click here to see more images.

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The Forge Restaurant | Wine Bar’s Executive Chef Dewey LoSasso will be one of Chefs With A Purpose:HAITI’s featured culinary greats on Wednesday night at the InterContinental Miami from 6:30-9:30 p.m.

LoSasso, raised in southern New Jersey, humbly started his culinary career making pizzas as a child in his family’s home pizza kitchen.

Born into an Italian family where his culinary skills and an appreciation of local ingredients were encouraged from a young age, LoSasso remembers his mother hand-selecting lush Jersey tomatoes for her ripe tomato salad – a family favorite that LoSasso ate with crusty Italian bread, sopping up the juices. At age 13 LoSasso realized his passion for cooking when, as a dishwasher at a local Italian restaurant, he began bringing home his daily duty of peeling two quarts of garlic in order to have more time to absorb the culture of the kitchen. He proceeded to work in the kitchen at five additional restaurants prior to graduating from high school.

LoSasso has been a mainstay in the culinary scene for more than 30 years, holding various executive posts, and even a stint as Donatella Versace’s personal chef. When LoSasso heard about The Forge Restaurant | Wine Bar’s search for a new executive chef, he opted for a new challenge. LoSasso proved the best of eight world-class chefs after a personal, in-home tasting by Forge owner Shareef Malnik.

In a recent Kitchen Confidential interview LoSasso mentioned several Forge favorites such as Lobster Peanut Butter and Jelly; Coffee-crusted Ribeye and Goat Cheese Frittata, appropriately named “Coffee and Eggs”; Crispy Chocolate Chestnut Ravioli with a Snickers dipping sauce.

Come see what LoSasso will cook up this Wednesday night, March 30 at Chefs With A Purpose:HAITI! Tickets are still available and are $80 online, but will be $100 at the door. So click here to purchase your tickets now and save!

All proceeds from the event benefiting the Haiti rebuilding efforts of Project Medishare for Haiti, Inc. and International Firefighters Assistance, Inc. (IFA).

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Guests attending Chefs With A Purpose: Haiti on Wednesday, March 30 at the Intercontinental Miami will have the opportunity to sample exotic flavors from Bravo TV’s Top Chef Ron Duprat.

Originally from Mare Rouge, Haiti, Ron is a well-seasoned executive Chef, having cooked for varying establishments such as the Pelican Bay Foundation and the Montauk Yacht Club. He has cemented himself as an expert in exotic flavors—often incorporating his own Haitian Creole influences with French-Asian Fusion cuisine.

Click above to see the bio video from Bravo’s Top Chef Season Six to learn a little more about Ron. Come to Chefs With A Purpose: Haiti to taste what Ron serves up for guests that evening!

Tickets are currently available online for $80 and can be purchased by clicking here. Be sure to purchase your tickets today. On the night of the event, tickets will be $100 at the door.

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Sra. Martinez’s Michelle Bernstein will be part of the culinary line-up at Chefs With A Purpose: Haiti at the Intercontinental Miami on Wednesday, March 30 from 6:30-9:30 p.m.

Chef Michelle Bernstein of Sra. Martinez will be one of the featured Miami culinary greats at Chefs With A Purpose: HAITI next Wednesday, March 30.

Michelle has been building a national following for her fresh new take on Latin cuisine. Born and raised by a food-loving Argentinean mother in Miami, Michelle grew up fluent in Spanish and steeped in the city’s cosmopolitan, Latin-influenced culture. She explored South America, the Caribbean, and Mexico. Using the freshest ingredients and the French training she went on to acquire, she has blended all these traditions into a cuisine that is uniquely hers.

A Miami native of Jewish and Latin descent, Michelle Bernstein has dazzled diners and critics alike with her sublime cuisine and a personality as bright and vibrant as the Florida sun. Michelle trained at Johnson & Wales and under the renowned chef Jean-Louis Palladin.

“My food is luxurious but approachable,” says Bernstein, a James Beard Award winner (Best Chef South 2007) and author of Cuisine a Latina.

Dewey LoSasso, Executive Chef of The Forge and Bravo TV’s Top Chef Ron DuPrat are among the long list of chefs joining Michelle that evening!

Don’t miss this tasty event next week March 30! Tickets are on sale for $80 online and will be $100 at the door the evening of the event.

So be sure to click here to purchase your tickets today and save!

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Earlier this month members from the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF), who sponsors Project Medishare’s amputee soccer team, traveled to Haiti to launch their “Return to Sports” program in partnership with Project Medishare and the Knights of Columbus. The goal of the new program was to use sports to heal the proud and resilient people of Haiti.

During their visit CAF operated their first international running clinic led by University of Miami’s Bob Gailey, PhD, PT and Ossur clinical prosthetist Peter Harsch.

During the same weekend, Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare unveiled its new prosthetic lab which was made possible through the partnerships with Ossur and Knights of Columbus.

Watch the video above or view it here on YouTube to see how these partnerships are inspiring amputee patients in Haiti.

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Benefiting the Haiti rebuilding efforts of  Project Medishare for Haiti, Inc. and International Firefighters Assistance, Inc. (IFA) the second annual Chefs With A Purpose: Haiti will be Wednesday, March 30 at the InterContinental Miami from 6:30-9:30 p.m.

Pierre Garçon, Wide Receiver for the Indianapolis Colts and an active supporter of Haiti through various organizations, will be the special host for the evening.  In addition, Calvin Hughes, evening news anchor at WPLG/Channel 10 Miami, will be honored for his important contributions to Haiti’s recovery, advancing awareness and fundraising efforts.

Guests of Chefs With A Purpose: Haiti will be greeted in the grand lobby with bongos and performers of the cultural non-profit group Tradisyon Lakou Lakay.  Inside, the music of renowned Haitian performers Mushy Widmaier and Phyllisia Ross will entertain with live performances.

Advanced purchase tickets are $80 and are available at www.chefswithapurpose.org and $100 at the door the day of the event.

The event will feature over 20 tasting stations each offering a signature menu item by the participating top chefs.  In addition, students from the Culinary Program in Doral, Florida’s San Ignacio College, part of San Ignacio de Loyola Organization in Lima, Peru, will be hands-on volunteers assisting the participating chefs.

The evening’s silent auction will feature items ranging from InterContinental Hotels & Resorts and other luxury hotel stays, unique dining experiences, Tiffany & Co. jewelry, Haitian art and unique sports memorabilia items.  A new addition this year is a Haitian art exhibit by Michele Frisch, Haiti’s leading art curator and collector.  The lobby of the InterContinental Miami will feature Haitian art from the Galerie Marassa collection and coincide with arteaméricas, the premier fair of art from Latin America.

Participating restaurants include:

  • Table 40 (Alexander Feher)
  • Two Chefs Restaurant (Jan Jorgensen)
  • Sra. Martinez (Michelle Bernstein)
  • The Forge
  • Mama Mia (Ron DuPrat)
  • Tap Tap
  • Gigi’s Noodle Bar
  • Bond Street
  • Chophouse Miami
  • House of Caviar & Fine Foods
  • Abokado (Cesar Rodriguez)
  • Moca Café
  • Chef Creole
  • CookiePursonality (Smadar Katzman)
  • San Ignacio College Culinary Program
  • Chef George Catering (Jorge Montes)
  • Rational Cooking Solutions (Tito Rodriguez)
  • Ana Paz Cakes
  • Diego’s Tapas y Vinos
  • Dadou’s Kitchen
  • Por Fin Restaurant & Lounge

Click here to purchase your advanced tickets today and save!

Event sponsors include Michele Frisch of Galerie Marassa, Prestige Beer, Central Parking System, PSAV Presentation Services, Deco Productions, Sir Speedy and Bayfront Floral & Event Design.

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