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Archive for the ‘volunteering’ Category

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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Video produced by Omar Vega.

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To mark the one year anniversary of the event that forever changed Haiti, University of Miami medical students will be sponsoring a memorial ceremony to benefit Project Medishare.

The event will be Wednesday, January 12 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in front of the Lois Pope Life Center at the medical campus and will culminate with a candlelight vigil.

UM medical students invite Project Medishare volunteers to reflect upon their personal experiences as well as participate in the open mic event during this time of remembrance.

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Project Medishare volunteers in Raleigh, NC are offering an evening of wine and Caribbean food tasting at “Live From Haiti…..It’s Saturday Night,” a fundraising event to benefit Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare on Saturday, January 8.

Guests will have the opportunity to meet a few of the medical staff via a Skype videoconference during the event. Purchase Haitian art, event-labeled wine bottles or get a Mehndi artist to hand-paint an artistic henna design to complement your style for the evening.

There is a suggested minimum donation of $25 per person/$40 per couple which includes a tasting of six wines and six Caribbean dishes.

Can’t attend the event, but wish to show your support? Click here make a contribution on Gina Epifano, Gail Warner and Jenae Jongebloed’s team fundraising page “Live from Haiti, It’s Saturday Night!” Your tax-deductible donation will directly benefit the patients at Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare.

The event will be at Colonial Grand of Brier Creek Clubhouse, 10210 Hillston Ridge Road, Raleigh, NC 27617. For more information contact Gail Warner at warnergail@yahoo.com.

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Our local medical staff and volunteers, along with some of the people we serve would like to send you happy holiday greetings. To view their message click on the video above or click here.

Thank you for all you’ve already done and, in advance, for all you’ll do. Your generosity means the world to the people of Haiti!

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By Jennifer Browning

On Friday, Dec. 10 Herold Charles was honored with a TeenNick HALO Award for his valiant effort to help people find loved ones after the Haiti earthquake.

TeenNick awarded Herold with $20,000. Half would go towards his education and the other $10,000 would go to the charity of his choice. Herold decided to split the donation between two non-profits and provide Project Medishare with a $5000 grant.

On January 12, Herold came home from school and started on his homework. Shortly after 6 p.m. a good friend called Herold to see if he had heard about the earthquake in Haiti.

Herold turned on the TV and saw reports of the 7.0 magnitude quake that had devastated his home country.

“My gut told me, oh my gosh, we in the U.S. aren’t ready for an earthquake,” Herold said, “How can Haiti be ready for an earthquake?”

Herold currently lives in Miami, but his family, including his parents, lives in Haiti. Suddenly, Herold felt a panic that so many others felt. Was his family safe?

“I rushed to my neighbors house across the street and asked to borrow her phone card to call home,” “I called many times and my parents didn’t answer, my sisters didn’t pick up. All of the calls either went to voicemail or it rang, rang and rang.”

As Herold, watched the news, he noticed the coverage shift from that of the quake to those who were starting to look for families and loved ones. The next day Herold went into action.

“The day after I began researching what resources were in Haiti and who was there to help,” he said.

After two days of waiting Herold finally heard from his sister and parents and learned that his family had survived. But there were still so many people missing.

Although he had previously deleted his Twitter account just weeks before, Herold opened a new account and went to work.

Through his Twitter account Herold started asking people to send him their phone numbers, names and addresses of their relatives missing in Haiti. Immediately, his phone began ringing.

Ten of Herold’s family and friends between Jacmel and Port-au-Prince began helping him search for the missing. When his Haiti network returned the information, it was up to Herold to return the call to let those in the U.S. know the information about their relatives. Herold said while he didn’t have to deliver bad news often, when he did, it was very difficult.

“That was the hardest part of the whole thing,” Herold said. “I don’t do good when it comes to tragedy. I started getting chills and I would get sick. When they would tell someone is missing or someone had died…the hardest part was to call the family.”

For the next three months, Herold continued to help in Haiti in a variety of ways. Such as helping organized donated food, supplies and other non-perishable items for those suffering in Haiti.

Herold learned about Project Medishare’s work in Haiti through Twitter.

“I heard so much about [Project Medishare] and their work,” he said. “And whenever we had a need for medical need for someone in Haiti, we would contact Medishare.”

While Herold worked with many organizations, he said he chose Project Medishare because of the medical work the organization provided to the people of Haiti.

“What a great way to help out, but by helping an organization doing medical work in Haiti,” Herold said. “Besides food and water, people in Haiti really need medical help.”

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By Jennifer Browning

This week Dr. Adam Goldstein and his medical team from Jewish Healthcare International are working with Project Medishare’s community health team in Haiti’s Central Plateau.

A mobile clinic in very rural Boucantis, Haiti. Jewish Healthcare International is working with Project Medishare's local medical staff this week. Photo courtesy of Dr. Adam Goldstein.

Yesterday, the team worked with Project Medishare’s local medical staff at a mobile clinic in Boucantis where they

drove almost two hours over mountains and canyons to meet the 200 patients that awaited them. On his blog Your Health, Dr. Goldstein talks about his team working with the Haitian medical staff to treat those at the clinic set up in an open air one-room church.

Inside the church, at least 150 people are lined up on three walls to see providers: a wall for pregnant and breastfeeding women, a wall for the dozens of children, and a wall for adult males and females. Dividing up quickly and taking our cue from the one Haitian nurse practitioner and intern on-site for the day, we dive right in, with interpreters, and a mobile pharmacy with a fairly effective though limited formulary. Several thousand dollars of samples we brought do prove helpful in some cases. Severe hypertension, severe arthritis, reflux and ulcers, iron deficiency, worms, urinary tract infection, eye infections, hernia, headaches, rashes and contusions, from those who had traveled 1-2 hours on foot to the church. Two cases of goiter and hyperthyroidism, one almost certain congenital heart disease in a 5 month old not thriving. We help, reassure, treat, and recognize that a paved road to these rural areas is more potent a pill than any we can deliver.

—from Poverty, Roads, Health and Hope on You Health

After working with Project Medishare’s local staff, the Jewish Healthcare International team traveled to Hinche to visit the regional hospital and another cholera treatment center who yesterday received 50 new cases at the site.


Another make-shift cholera camp set up at the front entrance. Yesterday, all had hope the disease might wane. Today, 50 new cases on top of 50 in treatment. 100 now in a tent hospital. Several died again because they got there too late. Heroic Ministry of Health administration and Partners in Health clinicians making a difference. Medishare, our host, providing supplies, training, and additional personnel.

—from Poverty, Roads, Health and Hope on You Health

The Jewish Healthcare International team will be working in Haiti for the rest of the week. You can read Dr. Goldstein’s full blog post Poverty, Roads, Health and Hope here. Dr. Goldstein plans to blog about his experiences throughout the week on Your Health.

Project Medishare’s community health program is operated by over 100 local staff comprised of Haitian doctors, nurses, pharmacists, administrative staff and community health agents. To learn more about Project Medishare’s community health program in Haiti’s Central Plateau click here. If you would like to donate towards the community health program you can make an online donation here.

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Pediatrician Dr. Heidi Sandige and neurology resident Suzanne Schindler measure 9-month-old Shaina Shirley Vil’s head to asses the child's condition before recommending surgery. Dr. Sandige and Schindler are part of a pediatric neurosurgical team led by Dr. Keith Rich from Washington University School of Medicine. Photo by Jennifer Browning.

By Jennifer Browning

A pediatric neurosurgical team is working this week at Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare. Last weekend Dr. Keith Rich was at the hospital participating in a neurological assessment of prospective surgical patients, as well as providing follow-up care to others.

Pediatric neurosurgery teams have been coming to Haiti since 2003 to provide surgeries to children with hydrocephalus. Those surgeries in the past have been primarily performed by neurologist Dr. John Ragheb and his team from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. While Dr. Rich and some of his team have participated in Project Medishare’s specialty surgical trips with Dr. Ragheb, this is the first time Washington University School of Medicine has organized their own pediatric neurosurgical trip to Haiti.

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Project Medishare volunteers Dave Bompart and Sam Perales help organize supplies donated by Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare (HBMPM). The supplies will be sent to St. Nicholas Hospital in Saint-Marc. The Ministry of Health has asked Project Medishare for assistance particularly with providing tents and important medical supplies such as IVs, IV starting kits and cots. Photo by PJ Pitts.

By Jennifer Browning

Project Medishare is on the front lines in Haiti responding to the deadly cholera outbreak that has infected thousands of people.

Project Medishare has been directly involved in helping stop the spread of this deadly disease by networking with the Haitian Ministry of Health, Partners in Health–through their sister organization Zanmi Lasanté, the American Red Cross and many other partnering NGOs so we can assist as much as possible.

The Ministry of Health has asked Project Medishare for assistance particularly with providing tents and important medical supplies such as IVs, IV starting kits and cots. We are making the large tents that were used at the field hospital available to be used as cholera treatment centers. One of those tents will go to Mirebalais, which is halfway between Port-au-Prince and our community health program in Thomonde.

Cholera cases have been confirmed in Port-au-Prince, however it is believed that these cases were contracted in communities outside the capital. Currently, Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare has made room available for patients suffering from cholera.

This weekend several of our staff traveled to Saint-Marc to assist doctors at St. Nicholas Hospital.

Project Medishare’s efforts are sustained by individual donations. If you would like to help us continue our efforts in assisting Haiti through this grim time, please click here to make a secure online donation today.

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