Message from Dean Goldschmidt and Dr. Green
Today marks the third anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. As we reflect on January 12, 2010, we remember the lives of the 300,000 people who perished in the worst natural disaster in the history of the Western Hemisphere. Our sincerest thoughts and prayers go out to all the families of the victims and everyone affected by this terrible tragedy. In the three years since the earthquake, the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, our Global Institute for Community Health, and Project Medishare for Haiti have remained as committed as ever to helping the Haitian people rebuild their country and get back on their feet.
Less than 24 hours after the earthquake, doctors led by Barth Green, M.D., Professor and Chair of Neurological Surgery, were the first medical responders to arrive on the ground in Haiti. Within days they had set up a 300-bed critical care and trauma field hospital based out of tents on the grounds of the Port-au-Prince airport. This hospital housed four operating rooms and an adult, pediatric and neonatal intensive care unit, which also acted as a triage area and staging point for U.S. military evacuations in Haiti.
Thousands of physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals from UHealth, Jackson Memorial Hospital, the Miami VA, Miami Children’s Hospital, and many other wonderful partner institutions around the world volunteered in weeklong shifts to staff and operate the hospital. They treated more than 30,000 critically ill and injured patients in the five months following the earthquake.
In addition to trauma and critical care services, the hospital operated a comprehensive rehabilitation program, offering physical therapy and psychosocial support for patients with spinal cord and brain injuries, as well as the many amputees who lost limbs to severe crush injuries and wounds. Our team began fitting patients with prosthetic limbs in April 2010, and continues to provide the physical therapy necessary to help amputees work toward productive lives.
In June of 2010, Project Medishare transitioned from the field hospital into a fixed-facility nonprofit hospital, Hospital Bernard Mevs, which was only partially functioning because of the post-quake conditions. This 50-bed community hospital was upgraded to include two sterile operating rooms, adult, pediatric and neonatal ICUs, a rehabilitation gym, spinal cord injury unit, state-of-the-art prosthetics lab, and the latest in imaging and laboratory technologies, including the first publicly available 16-slice CT scanner.
Project Medishare employs more than 150 Haitian doctors, nurses, and allied health professionals to staff and operate Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare, which in addition to the 50 inpatient beds also has a busy outpatient clinic that treats up to 150 patients a day. This hospital treats the most critically ill and injured patients in the country, and is responsible for preventing unnecessary deaths due to major trauma, burns, strokes, heart attacks and maternal emergencies.
Project Medishare, founded by Green and Arthur Fournier, M.D., has been engaged in community health and development work in Haiti for more than 18 years and continues to operate diverse programs around the country in hopes of building capacity to empower the people of Haiti to help themselves. In addition to the only trauma and critical care hospital, other Project Medishare programs include a community health program that provides comprehensive healthcare services to more than 100,000 people in one of Haiti’s most impoverished areas, a maternal health center that is expected to reduce the maternal mortality rate by 75 percent in the Central Plateau in the next two years, a world-class prosthetics program that has put limbs on thousands of amputees, a medical training and education program to empower Haitian health professionals, a comprehensive rehabilitation program including a spinal cord injury unit, an amputee soccer team composed of Project Medishare patients, and a school-based health program that treats more than 20,000 schoolchildren a year.
We are more dedicated than ever to our ongoing programs in Haiti. Your commitment made an enormous difference to the Haitian people after the earthquake, and it will continue to make a difference for years to come. On behalf of the University of Miami and the Miller School of Medicine, we thank you.
Barth and Pascal
Barth A. Green, M.D.
Professor and Chair, Department of Neurological Surgery
Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D.
Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
CEO, University of Miami Health System