A Note of Thanks to Paul Guggenheim

(El Español sigue el Inglés.)

Catherine, Paul, Dorka, Severet

A Note of Thanks to Paul Guggenheim
Craig W. Czarsty, M. D., President

Health Horizons recently had a transition in leadership from Paul Guggenheim to Elizabeth Geier.  I want to publicly thank Paul for the outstanding work he did during his two years with us.

Paul followed Laura McNulty, a co-founder of HHI.  Following the person who helped create an organization as well as who created the role of Executive Director is not an easy thing to do.  Paul did it with grace and charm.  He brought the perspective of someone well acquainted with NGOs working in Latin America.  One of his consummate skills is the ability to network.  Among other venues, Paul was able to establish HHI’s reputation in such places as the Ministry of Public Health in Santo Domingo and Puerto Plata as well as the Embassies of Germany and Israel to the Dominican Republic.

Paul was always on duty.  I could send emails at any hour of the day or night, seven days a week, and get a prompt response.  He did a thorough job of turning over the reins to Elizabeth and stayed engaged right up until his last day.   He cares about HHI and the work we do.  It always shows.

Please join me in thanking Paul and wishing him well as he begins a new chapter of his life.  He will be returning to doing the environmental work for which he was trained.  Paul will be working to help preserve the coastal reefs around the Dominican Republic.

Paul, let’s not say “adios” but “nos vemos”.


Una nota de agradecimiento a Paul Guggenheim
Craig W. Czarsty, M. D., Presidente

Horizontes de Salud  tuvo recientemente una transición en el liderazgo de Paul Guggenheim a Elizabeth Geier. Quiero agradecer públicamente a Paul por el excelente trabajo que hizo durante sus dos años con nosotros.

Paul siguió Laura McNulty, un co-fundador de Horizontes de Salud. A raíz de la persona que ayudó a crear una organización, así como quién creó el cargo de Director Ejecutivo no es una cosa fácil de hacer. Pablo lo hizo con gracia y encanto. Él trajo la perspectiva de alguien bien familiarizado con las ONG que trabajan en América Latina. Una de sus habilidades consumadas es la capacidad de la red. Entre otros lugares, Pablo fue capaz de establecer la reputación de Horizontes de Salud en tales lugares como el Ministerio de Salud Pública en Santo Domingo y Puerto Plata, así como las embajadas de Alemania y Israel a la República Dominicana.

Pablo estaba siempre de guardia. Podría enviar mensajes de correo electrónico a cualquier hora del día o de la noche, siete días a la semana, y obtener una pronta respuesta. Él hizo un gran trabajo de entregar las riendas a Elizabeth y se quedó comprometida la derecha hasta su último día. Él se preocupa por HHI y el trabajo que hacemos. Siempre muestra.

Por favor, únanse a mí para agradecer a Pablo y deseándole lo mejor al comenzar un nuevo capítulo de su vida. Él va a volver a hacer el trabajo del medio ambiente por el que fue entrenado. Paul va a trabajar para ayudar a preservar los arrecifes de la costa alrededor de la República Dominicana.

Paul, no vamos a decir “adiós”, pero “nos vemos”.



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Why I Work with Health Horizons International

By Ribe Rivers

Ribe4 I started working with Health Horizons International (HHI) about two and a half years ago. I am a Community Health Worker and also I am a translator and since starting my work with HHI I have learned a lot of new things and have met great people. I love my job because I am helping my community and there is nothing that I love more than helping people that I know really need help. That’s why when I am working, I do it without any complaints, and I am just happy inside even if I am having a bad day. I am so happy when I am working with HHI.

During the Medical Service Trips my job is to help the doctor who I am translating for to know what is happening with the patients. I think that this is one of the most important things because if there is no communication there is no good work. I am glad to be part of this even though sometimes it is hard because there many words that I don’t have in my head, but I have partners who can help me in the same way that sometimes I help them, because the point is to do a great job. So, having good friends on the job is very helpful.Ribe3

Also, I have nine patients in my community of Pancho Mateo in Montellano whom I am responsible for following up with during home visits. I take care of their medications and check their blood pressure and blood sugar every month and I bring them their medications every two months. That’s a really important part of my job because I have learned how to talk with patients and that’s the most important thing for a doctor to know how their patient is feeling. Even though they know I am not a doctor, they trust me and believe in me because I care about their health and well-being.

ribeDuring the Medical Service Trips sometimes we have doctors that speak Spanish and I don’t need to work as a translator, during those times I work in the lab station and my friends call me Mr. Pee (probably because I am responsible for all the urine samples). That’s something that I love to do too because I would like to be a doctor someday. I want to learn as much as I can about everything that is connected to all areas of the human body.

I do everything that is in my power to help when someone needs it and I do this every time I have the opportunity. I love working with HHI because it is a great opportunity to be part of a good organization full of people who are helping others with their hands and hearts.

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Five Years and Going Strong

By Michael Good, MD

Mike and CHW    As I return from my fifth medical service trip with Health Horizons International (HHI), I continue to be struck both by the burden of suffering that I see among the poorer populations around Puerto Plata and also at the progress that can be seen in the health and well being of patients in our target communities. During the early years of HHI, patients were seen in disorganized clinics, there were no charts, all care was for acute and urgent needs. I recall at the time being struck that patients who said they were 50 years old looked like 75 year olds to my American eyes. Patients would commonly have markedly elevated blood pressures, some at levels such as 220/120 that would have prompted a call for an ambulance back home. Other patients would have symptoms of thirst and frequent urination due to extremely high blood sugars; other than giving dietary advice which many patients had trouble comprehending, we had no other available interventions for hypertensives and diabetics presenting to our clinics.in the clinic

Flash forward five years and there is a world of difference. Now there is a cadre of well trained, experienced Community Health Workers (CHWs) monitoring 160 patients in our Chronic Disease Program. Patients are given chronic medications for diabetes, hypertension and asthma and visited by their Community Health Worker on a monthly basis to be checked, to monitor compliance and look for patients who need to visit our local collaborating physician Dr. Medina at the weekly HHI clinic in Montellano. Now when we see patients for follow-up they come accompanied by their Community Health Worker and we have a chart documenting their past visits, laboratory values and consultations with Dr. Medina. Whereas in the past, follow-up care for complex cases was coordinated by the HHI staff, it is now increasingly the responsibility of CHW Willy Destin and his fellow Community Health Workers.

This year for the first time some of my patients had attended the Sano y Feliz diet and exercise program, showing an impressive level of knowledge of nutrition and exercise that they learned at these HHI organized classes. One of my patients had lost 20 pounds and I was able to discontinue his blood pressure medicine! Little by little the advances are adding up. I am very much looking forward to the future as I continue to work with HHI during my annual medical service trips and to marveling at the progress that can be seen from one year to the next.



All photos by Michael Good, MD

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