Promoting Health in Haiti
If we grab a hand and take a stand, we’ll see a change that we demand.
Promoting Health In Haiti is a 501c (3) organization dedicated solely to support nursing education in Haiti. Promoting Health In Haiti partnered with Haiti State University to create the first Nurse Practitioner Program that began in April 2015.
Nurses are the front-line of health and wellness in a society. They are the primary source of care for individuals who are suffering and vulnerable. Promoting Health In Haiti was founded to provide support for Haitian schools of nursing. The organization’s goal is to create collaborations between North American and Haitian schools of nursing, in order to develop Bachelor’s level and Master’s level nursing education; so that nurses will have the training they need to provide the complex care they are called on to deliver, in hospitals and in outpatient settings.
At Promoting Health in Haiti, we’re committed to the fundamentals of nursing that include advocating for others, providing care, and education. We seek to improve health in Haiti through enhancing nursing education and nursing knowledge. With the help of the dedicated nursing students of HBSON, we are able to educate peers about the crisis in Haiti, the need for higher education nurses, and the impact every donation has on the future of nursing. To all those with whom we have had the privilege of working with, thank you.
HISTORY AND OVERVIEW OF PROMOTING HEALTH IN HAITI, INC
Promoting Health in Haiti (PHH) was founded in 2010 by four distinguished nurse educators: Dr. Carol Roye, Dr. Steven Baumann, Dr. Joanna Hofmann and Dr. Carmelle Bellefleur. Thanks to their tremendous efforts, not only is the level of nursing education in Haiti being upgraded, but an entire profession is being recognized as making a major contribution to public health. Ultimately, the people of Haiti, who have such scant access to primary care, are the prime beneficiaries.
The massive earthquake in Haiti in 2010 caused the horrendous destruction of the nursing school in Port-au-Prince with the death of almost 100 nursing students and faculty. Our founders who were faculty at Hunter College, Hunter-Bellevue School of Nurs¬ing, immediately wanted to help Haiti. Dr. Carmelle M. Bellefleur, RN, PhD, an American nurse from Haiti and an alumna of Hunter College-Bellevue School of Nursing, had worked with UNICEF to improve health and nursing care in Haiti in the early 1990s. She volunteered to take the three Hunter College nursing faculty to Haiti to conduct a needs assess¬ment and to establish linkages with schools of nursing in Haiti, the Ministry of Health and the University of Haiti.
Seven subsequent trips to Haiti took place from June 2010 through February 2012. Meetings were held with leaders from the Ministry of Health including Dr. Gabriel, the Director General; Dr. Dahilay Augustin, Director of Education and Research; Mrs. Irma Bois, Registered Nurse, Director of Nursing; Mrs. Lucile Charles, Pres¬ident of Haitian Nurses Association, Registered Nurse and Jurist; Mrs. Yolande Nazaire, Registered Nurse and Director of the School of Nursing in Port-au-Prince; Mrs. Marlene Thompson, Registered Nurse and Nurse Administrator at the General Hospital; Dr. De¬mangue, Hospital Administrator at the General Hospital; Mrs. Suze N’Lemba, Registered Nurse, Director of Institute Professional Edu¬cation des Soins Integres (IPESI); several nursing instructors at the school of nursing and several nurses at the General Hospital. These early trips were all self-financed.
On April 14-15, 2011, the Hunter team hosted a conference, Part¬nerships to Enhance Nursing Education in Haiti and invited fifteen Haitian nurse leaders and physicians to NYC to join over 50 repre¬sentatives of North American schools of nursing. The conference served as a starting point to begin serious, detailed, collaborative discussions about enhancing nursing education in Haiti. It was also agreed that in order for a program to be self-sustaining, the profes¬sion of nursing needed to be recognized in Haiti, with academic degrees (BSN and MSN) and an educated nursing faculty to be able to teach the next generation.
A follow-up conference was held in Haiti in November 2011 which was planned and hosted by the Haitian Nurses Association (L’AN¬ILH) with financial assistance from Promoting Health in Haiti.
During the summer of 2012, we sent American nurses of Haitian descent to Haiti to provide classes for new nurses. L’ANILH assist¬ed us in providing the program.
In late 2012 PHH signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a private university in Haiti, Faculte des Sciences Infirmieres de Leogane (FSIL) and the Episcopal University to rent space for the development of a master’s program in nursing. The curriculum was developed and faculty from the United States began teaching in Haiti that fall. Twenty students began the three year program to not only earn a Master’s Degree in Nursing, but also be qualified Family Nurse Practitioners. Volunteer Faculty from the US offered intensive education along with online classes. Each 3-credit course required 45 hours of teaching. The faculty did in person classes in Haiti for 6 hours/day for 4 days (for 24 hours). The additional 21 hours were taught online. Every student had access to a computer, desktop and laptop. Clinical experiences were provided by Haitian and Amer¬ican physicians and American nurse practitioners.
Out of the 20 students that began the program, 16 graduated and received a master’s Degree from Faculte des Sciences Infirmieres de Leogane (FSIL) and the Episcopal University in November of 2017. This first class of students is now practicing independently in Haiti or teaching in nursing schools in Haiti.
In December 2014, PHH obtained a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Health stating that the role of “Family Nurse Practitioner” is now a professional title in Haiti. PHH was asked to expand the program for the national school of nursing. PHH worked with faculty from Mol¬loy College to develop a baccalaureate curriculum to be used by the University of Haiti. This program officially opened on April 27, 2015 and the first cohort of graduated nurses completing the baccalaureate part of the program in early 2016 and immediately began the Master’s program to earn a master’s degree as a Family Nurse Practitioner. This group graduated in June of 2018 with both a baccalaureate and a master’s degree from the University of Haiti as qualified Family Nurse Practitioners.
A third cohort started in October 2018 with 42 students from both a diploma program at the University of Haiti and Lemieux University. This cohort has completed the baccalaureate program and is now completing their NP courses. This cohort was divided into two separate programs with 9 students selecting the role of psychiatric nurse practitioner and the remaining 28 becoming family nurse practitioner. Both sections will be beginning their clinical (residency) part of the program with both American and Haitian physicians in January 2021. During the pandemic, classes continued on line.
In order to secure the sustainability of the program, PHH is now educating two top graduates from the first cohort in the United States at the doctoral level. These students will be expected to take over the program at the University of Haiti. Students were selected based on their academic achievement in the program, their ability to speak English, and their desire to remain in Haiti and take over the program. The students are now enrolled at SUNY Downstate in the Doctorate of Nursing Practice Program and are attending classes on line.
Promoting Health in Haiti, a 501C (3), has established a baccalaureate and a master’s program at the University of Haiti and is now making this program sustainable without the involvement of American professors. In order to do this, we must have educated Haitian faculty capable of teaching in the University of Haiti and providing curriculum development, research assistance and of course high quality teaching. Our expenses are great and we are very grateful for our donors who continue to have faith in the program.
Dr. Carol Roye has been a pediatric nurse practitioner for over 30 years. Her practice was primarily in adolescent health. She also has been an educator, at Columbia, Hunter and now Pace where she is Associate Dean for Faculty Scholarship.
Joanna Hofmann has been a registered nurse for over 50 years and a nurse practitioner for the past 18 years. She has worked as both a nurse educator and a practicing clinician, retiring from full time teaching at Hunter College School of Nursing in 2013..
Steven L. Baumann is a professor of nursing at the Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY).
Program Coordinator, Co-Founder
Dr. Bellefleur graduated from Manhattan Community College with an Associate Degree in Nursing in 1978. She received her B.S. in 1982, her M.S. in 1984 from Hunter Bellevue School of Nursing as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Medical Surgical Nursing.
PHH Board Members
Henri Desrosiers, Vice-President
Stephen Hofmann, Secretary
Judith James-Borga, Program Director
Lorraine Emeghebo, Program Director
Sophie Kaufman, Board Member
Jed Levine, Advisor