On September 18th, six new pediatricians trained by the consortium NPH Haiti St. Damien Pediatric Hospital, University Notre Dame d’Haiti (UNDH) and Hospital Bernard Mevs/ Medishare, graduated after three years of training. The graduates were:
- Renee Alcee
- Roberson Charles
- Joelle C. Denis
- Frantzy Dieudonné
- Danielle Dorinvil
- Valerie Lallemand
The residency program started in September 2013, to improve the quality of pediatric care in Haiti where there is an estimated one doctor for every 15,000 people, with the most vulnerable being children.
There is a severe shortage of specialty training for medical graduates in Haiti. Only 60% of them have access to a residency program. Furthermore, only 300 pediatricians are in function in a country where 30% of the 10 million inhabitants are children under 15 years of age. St. Damien, with over 20 years of experience in managing pediatric healthcare, decided to combine its efforts with UNDH and Bernard Mevs/Medishare to work at decreasing this severe gap by implementing the residency program.
The graduation ceremony took place at UNDH and started with a prayer, which was then followed by a speech from graduate and chief resident, Dr. Renee Alcé. Many guests, international friends, and family were there to support the graduates who worked hard for the last three years. Dr. Brittany Potts, pediatrician from Ohio represented the St. Damien Collaborative.
Program directors, congratulated the six new pediatricians for their motivation and devotion to achieve their dreams. The residents then offered appreciation plaques to their mentors, as well as to Ms .Margareth Mehu, the coordinator of the program. Mentors who received plaques were:
- Antonia Eyssallenne, Residency Program Director
- Jacqueline Gautier, National Director of St. Damien Pediatric Hospital
- Jerry Bitar and Marlon Bitar, Executive Director of Bernard Mevs/Medishare
- Jude Jean Jacques, Coordinator University of Notre Dame D’Haiti
- Margareth Mehu, Coordinator of the Residency Program at St. Damien Pediatric Hospital
Dr. Renee Alcé, who had been chosen to be the chief resident for her exceptional leadership and interpersonal skills, gave a wonderful speech. She reported that her peers and herself fought until the end of these three years for every single child they were caring for even though resources were limited.
At the forefront of pediatrics in Haiti, St. Damien provides training opportunities in the care of surgical patients, childhood cancer, and many other pediatric specialties available nowhere else in the country. The residency program enjoys support from a network of committed children’s hospitals, known as St. Damien Collaborative that includes:
- Akron Children’s Hospital, Akron, OH
- University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, Minneapolis, MN
- Hasbro Children’s Hospital, Providence, RI
- Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, Norfolk, VA
- University of Massachusetts Memorial Children’s Medical Center, Boston, MA
- Dell Children’s Medical Center, Austin, TX
- University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE
- Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, Cleveland, OH
- McGill University, Montreal, Canada
In her speech, Dr. Alcé expressed her gratitude to the group on behalf of her colleagues. She also thanked all the Haitian physicians who mentored them during their training at Bernard Mevs Hospital as well as at St. Damien.
St. Damien is pleased to announce that two of the graduating residents, Dr. Renée Alcé and Dr. Charles Roberson, have been hired. Dr. Alcé is working as Chief Resident coordinating the residency program along with the other program directors; Dr. Charles works at the emergency department. Dr Joëlle Denis has been hired at Hospital Bernard Mevs. We are certain that the three others will soon be employed. In the meantime, two are replacing other pediatricians on vacations at St. Damien.