Marking an Important Milestone in Haiti

Reprinted from BWH President’s Perspective 27 February 2020

Like many people around the world, I watched the news in horror and disbelief on Jan. 12, 2010, when a devastating earthquake struck Haiti. The ensuing humanitarian crisis resulted in the deaths of nearly a quarter-million people, an even greater number of injuries and unprecedented levels of destruction.

In January, on the eve of the earthquake’s 10-year anniversary, I was overjoyed to learn that Partners In Health’s Hôpital Universitaire de Mirebalais in Haiti was awarded institutional accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education International, which accredits medical residency and fellowship programs around the world.

This remarkable recognition has special meaning for me. Less than two weeks prior to the earthquake, I had rejoined our Brigham family to begin serving as president here. In those early days, I witnessed how quickly our faculty, staff and trainees mobilized to support Haiti’s immediate relief needs and long-term recovery efforts. This outpouring of caring and generosity reinforced why the Brigham has always been close to my heart.

One part of the response was the work to establish Hôpital Universitaire de Mirebalais (University Hospital), a 300-bed teaching hospital created through a partnership between our Division of Global Health Equity, Partners In Health, the Haitian government and other Harvard-affiliated institutions. The hospital, which opened in April 2013, was a significant first step in rebuilding Haiti’s shattered health care infrastructure.

I had the wonderful privilege of traveling to Mirebalais in 2013 to celebrate the hospital’s opening and see firsthand its extraordinary potential to transform care in Haiti and create opportunities for the next generation of health care professionals. Since then, members of our Brigham community have continued to collaborate with Haitian colleagues to advance and expand those programs in exciting ways.

This new, prestigious milestone of accreditation is a testament to how we can partner with local communities to build a healthier world.