Upstate to be part of SUNY effort to build sustainable village, learning environment in Haiti
SYRACUSE, N.Y.-- Upstate Medical University will join nine other SUNY campuses and five not-for-profit organizations in a statewide collaboration to establish a sustainable village and learning community (SLVC) in Haiti that will provide resources and services for the town of Akayè.
Each campus in the collaboration was selected to bring expertise in a certain specialty to the community. Upstate, along with Stony Brook University and Nassau Community College is part of the Health and Wellness working group.
Other campuses and their specialties include University at Albany (international development for management), Binghamton University (public administration), University at Buffalo (social work), Buffalo State College (performing arts), SUNY Cobleskill (agriculture and fisheries), SUNY-ESF (landscape architecture) and SUNY New Paltz (disaster mental health).
“Our involvement in our communities in Central New York and in our global communities around the world is all part of the academic mission and strategic plan of Upstate Medical University to create a healthier world,” said Danielle Laraque-Arena, MD, FAAP, president of Upstate Medical University.
Upstate’s participation in the initiative is being coordinated through the university’s Center for Global Health and Translational Science. “This is precisely the type of opportunity that our center should be engaged in,” said the center’s director, Mark Polhemus, MD, associate professor of medicine, and microbiology and immunology. “This global outreach from Upstate sets us on a path toward building a sustainable village that can impact lives, the environment and health equity in Haiti through education, clinical care and research.”
As part of the Health and Wellness work group, Upstate’s Janice Bach, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics, and Bonnie Grossman, MD, assistant professor of emergency medicine, are in Haiti to visit Mirabalais Hospital and St. Marc Hospital. Bach and Grossman are looking at these facilities as models (using the World Health Organization’s Framework for Action for strengthening health systems to improve health outcomes) to help guide development efforts in Akayè.
Other objectives to be addressed by the Health and Wellness group include:
- To Propose a Health Center model with the aim of reducing Health Inequity for the community of Akaye, Haiti, by addressing its unmet healthcare needs.
- To build the healthcare capacity of the community through proposed training programs.
- To develop the educational and research capacity of the healthcare community and partner Universities through proposed educational programs.
- To integrate SUNY faculty and students into the proposed programs with the twofold purpose of maximizing the impact of the clinical services as well as the educational and research capacity, and building efforts and enhancing the educational impact for SUNY faculty and students that will also encourage and stimulate long-term involvement in the global community.
The SUNY collaboration is funded by a nearly $800,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to support the project that will support the project, which will develop educational, economic and social programs, resources, and other needed services on 40 acres of land donated by a Nassau Community College professor emeritus.
The five not-for-profit organizations partnering on the project are: African Methodist Episcopal Church Service and Development Agency (AME-SADA), Effort Commun Pour Le Developpement de L'Arcahaie (ECODA), Haiti Development Institute, Hope on a String and YouthBuild International.
About the collaboration, SUNY Board of Trustee Chairman H. Carl McCall said: “It is SUNY’s honor to be able to extend our hand in friendship to the people of Akayè, Haiti, through our shared focus on education while providing valuable learning opportunities for students, faculty, and staff from throughout our System.
“This project began with a generous donation of 40 acres of land in Akayè from Nassau Community College Professor Emeritus Carmelle Bellefleur, PhD, RN, whose vision has led us to today’s announcement,” McCall said. “It is an enormous point of pride for SUNY to collaborate with the people of Haiti as we establish a sustainable learning community to farm the land and provide food, build a medical center to increase health and wellness, and deliver much-needed services and economic development across many sectors.”
SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson said: “SUNY’s capacity to serve communities throughout New York State and around the globe knows no bounds. Thank you to each of our campuses, which will each provide distinct expertise to the project, to our partnering organizations, and to the Kellogg Foundation. This project will provide immeasurable opportunity for those in Haiti as well as the students, faculty, staff participating from across SUNY.”
The Center for Global Health and Translation Sciences is involved in numerous international projects. One of the most high-profile activities has been its work on finding ways to halt the spread of the mosquito-borne diseases like the Zika and dengue virus in South American nations, like Ecuador, where mosquito-borne illness is common.
Caption: As part of the collaboration Upstate faculty members Janice Bach, MD, right, and Bonnie Grossman, MD, are in Haiti to visit Mirabalais Hospital and St. Marc Hospital. Bach and Grossman are looking at these facilities as models (using the World Health Organization’s Framework for Action for strengthening health systems to improve health outcomes) to help guide development efforts in Akayè