Written by: Dewry DuRoi
Edited by: Nathifa King
On Friday, March 24, 2023, I had the pleasure of attending the Promoting Health in Haiti (PHH) gala and fundraiser as the guest of newly appointed President and Brooklyn resident – Henri J. Desrosiers, RN, FNP. The gala was held at the upscale- Antun’s, located on 96-43 Springfield Blvd, Queens, NY. DJ ToniBeatz played a mix of Caribbean and American tracks as guests paraded amongst the striking spread of traditional Haitian cuisine and other cultural dishes. As guests continued to fill the room, servers diligently made additional seating accommodations to ensure each guest would secure seating. The gala guest list comprised of a mix of politicians, vendors, board members, and donors, who all support the efforts of raising funds to help the underprivileged citizens of Haiti. Historically, the nation has been hit with devastating natural disasters that destroyed homes, families, and many historical landmark structures. The gala’s focus this year was to raise money to improve the medical services for the natives of Haiti that was majorly hit.
“Promoting Health in Haiti” (PHH) has made amazing progress in a country still troubled by unrest and insecurity. According to President Desrosiers, PHH has been able to continue their program and even admit new students with the help of faithful partners and donors. PHH houses sixty-one Family Nurse Practitioners (FNP) (seven specialized in Mental Health services) who have all earned a master’s degree conferred by the University of Haiti. PHH prides itself by maintaining an overall standard of 68 students graduating from the program with a current cohort of 38 students set to graduate in 2025. President Desrosiers states, “This work is only possible because of our generous donors and this great Union: “L’Union Fait La force”, “United we Stand.”
According to President Desrosiers, “PHH is not a “medical organization”. We educate nurses in Haiti, elevate their knowledge with a master’s degree in Nursing with specialization in two tracks: 1. Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) 2. Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. We are developing a third track that is a Family Nurse Practitioner with a specialization in Midwifery. This professional can provide primary care as well as taking care of a mother and child throughout pregnancy.” Look at the web site for more info: https://phhaiti.org/
PROMOTING HEALTH IN HAITI
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. PHH is a 501c (3) organization dedicated solely to support nursing education in Haiti. They 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 outpatient settings.
PHH is committed to the fundamentals of nursing that include advocating for others, providing care, and education, and 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 nursing education, and the impact every donation has on the future of nursing.
FIRST DOCTORAL GRADUATE
PHH is pleased to announce the first Doctoral Graduate of 2023, Blandine Jean-Louis, DNP, FNP, RN. Registered nurse since 2009, Blandine Jean-Louis began her work at Doctors without borders immediately after her social service. She then acquired experiences at Bon Sauveur hospital of Cange in the surgery and recovery room. Transferred to Mirebalais in the PACU service where she provided pre and post op care for these patients. She completed a master’s degree in family nurse practitioner in the post graduate program of Promoting Health in Haiti and the State University of Haiti. She completed a Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) at SUNY Downstate School of Nursing and it was such a memorable moment in watching her receive her Doctoral degree in Nursing in December 2022.. She is currently working at the J9 Program taking care of children from birth to 9 months and also functions as the academic assistant of the post graduate program for PHH.
Dr. Carmelle Bellefleur graduated from Adelphi University with a PhD in Nursing. She has been teaching nursing for thirty-six years and is currently Professor Emerita at Nassau Community College. She has been living in the U.S for over 50 years, but has never forgotten the people she left behind. While living in the US, she developed a deep conviction to giving back to people who are less fortunate; people with no voice. In 1992, she collaborated with UNICEF to create a community development program to improve the living conditions of the people in the village she grew up in.
Through her passion to make a difference amongst the underserved populations and to help bridge the gap in health disparities in the U.S., she wrote a federal grant to increase retention and graduation rates of minority disadvantaged nursing students at Nassau Community College through the U S Department of Health and Human Services. That federal grant award spanned over 12 years. After Haiti’s earthquake in 2010, she was appointed a member of the Advisory Board of the City University of New York (CUNY) CUNY-Haiti Project to help rebuild nursing education in Haiti.
In 2013, she and her colleagues from Hunter College opened the first master’s degree program in Haiti, in partnership with Episcopal University, Haiti’s Ministry of Health, Haiti State University, and the nurse leaders of Haiti. Since 2016 she has partnered with the Sustainable Village and Learning Community of Arcahaie, Port-au-Prince and she became the Chief Executive Officer of PHH.
VOTE OF THANKS
We thank all who we have had the privilege of working with. Thanks to their tremendous efforts. Not only is the level of nursing education in Haiti being upgraded, but an entire profession is being recognized in making a major contribution to public health. Ultimately, the people of Haiti, who have such scant access to primary care, are the prime beneficiaries.
PHH is proud of these trail blazers who believe in giving to benefit others. PHH is that vehicle they chose to embark on to take that ride, to share their expertise, and to provide access to those most neglected. These are a very special group of people who truly care about their community and are committed in making a difference in the world they live in and in Haiti. These are truly friends of Haiti! PHH values every commitment and the spirit of giving which has encouragement and strengthened us to continue this work.
PHH Board of Directors presented this year’s Honorees:
PHH & Mayor’s Office – “Visionary in Health and Leadership Award” to Dr. Emmanuel Saint Louis
PHH & Mayor’s Office – “Most Generous & Supportive Member of PHH” to Stephen Hofmann, JD
Mayor’s Office – “Visionary in Health Education and Leadership Award” to Dr. Carmelle Bellefleur
Mayor’s Office – “Visionary in Education and Leadership Award” to Mr. David Adams