By Heather Dimock, Quinnipiac University PA Student
Four days never meant so much. I cannot believe how much impact a short week could have on me. I actually still feel like I’m processing it. Working with HHI and the people of the Puerto Plata region has been an amazing experience which I know will always stay in my heart. I knew going into this it would be a very special experience but I think it still took me by surprise. The communities we worked with are so vibrant and full of life, it’s contagious. I hope to keep a little of their strength and spirit tucked away in my heart for when my “first world problems” get me down. It was an extremely humbling experience but empowering at the same time and one I hope to repeat again.
The common goal of providing the best care possible is an international language everyone can understand. It is this unified goal that allows near-complete strangers to come together as a team and work smoothly and competently. It is this goal that allows patients to put their trust in people they have never met who don’t even speak their language. It is this goal that keeps us striving to better ourselves as health care providers.
Working with the HHI Cooperadores (Community Health Workers) was eye-opening as well. They are amazing people who demonstrate so much care and responsibility but truly seem to enjoy their work. They know each of their patients inside and out and advocate for them. They are truly an amazing model for what health care could be like. HHI itself is an amazing model for continuity of care which really makes an impact. It was impressive to see patient after patient have their medications decreased or stopped all together because they no longer needed them. They’re making real, tangible progress.
The best thing about the trip was the positive energy of all the people. From the HHI staff to the patients, the Cooperadores, the translators, everyone. Each person brought something to the table: an idea, a helping hand, a smile, which made each day, no matter how hard or busy or sweaty, enjoyable. Again, I know this trip will stay with me forever but I really hope that energy and love of life will too.
by Mary-Kate Almeida, Quinnipiac University PA Student
It was our first day in Pancho Mateo. Hot, crowded, highly urbanized and impoverished. We had been working all morning at the clinic and toward lunchtime, Janelle, the Clinical Programs Director, pulled me aside and asked if I had had a chance to go on a home visit yet. I hadn’t. She nodded toward Dr. Anne and said “There’s a new mom and a day-old infant. We want you to go with the doctor and see them.” Dr. Anne was ready to go with her backpack, hat, and clipboard. Loriann was excited to come along as well. “Oh, and bring Ricky with you,” Janelle added as we headed out the door.
Ricky, one of the amazing interpreters we worked with who was from the area, led us out the front doorway of the clinic and onto the dirt road. We took a left and walked a few houses down the street. On the right, we stepped into a small home, stepping past an elderly woman sitting on the floor of the porch cleaning a pile of small fish in a bowl. We saw another woman inside and asked where the patient was. Around another doorway to the left we saw a young woman on a bed with her infant snuggled next to her. Mosquito netting was strung around to protect them both. The mother began un-tucking the net when she saw Dr. Anne. Lori and I watched as Dr. Anne, with Ricky’s assistance in interpretation, gently examined both the newborn and mother. She tried to educate the mother on breastfeeding and asked a thorough round of questions about both the baby’s and mother’s health and support.
It was an amazing process to watch provider and patient work together through cultural and linguistic differences. Loriann and I assisted in gathering patient demographic information, performing histories on both the mother and child. Dr. Anne gave her recommendations on multivitamins, healthy diet options, and proper infant care. We left with a “Dios te bendiga” and a smile, hoping we had all in some small way had an impact on helping this new family.
The Executive Director is entrusted with acting as a visionary for realizing HHI’s mission, in collaboration with the people HHI serves, the Board of Directors, and all employees, volunteers, and partners. The position demands a passion for global health and community development, a commitment to working towards a holistic vision of health in partnership with communities, and an eagerness to contribute to the growth and success of a young non-profit organization. The Executive Director is responsible for all programs, services, and personnel, and ensures the efficiency and effectiveness of all HHI’s operations.
Please click here to download the full position description. The position is scheduled to begin in mid July 2014. To apply, please email a cover letter, resume, and personal statement to Dr. Craig Czarsty, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors, at email@example.com.