Community Health Workers

Catherine Balbuena | Severet

Catherine has many family members in Severet, and has lived there most of her life. She enjoys cooking, especially during holidays and for other people. She says, “For me, being a cooperadora means being a leader in my community. I have the responsibility of helping people in my community by following up on whatever sickness they may have, and helping with their treatment. As a leader, I confront any problem in my community relating to sickness.”

Cedric Lubin | Pancho Mateo

Cedric is originally from Haiti, but has been living in Pancho Mateo for most of his life. He is the proud father of five children, all of whom are currently in school. Cedric became a cooperador with Health Horizons because he is interested in leadership, education and disease prevention. He believes the largest challenge facing Pancho Mateo is a lack of basic sanitation. Cedric also works part-time at a local clinic, and dreams of attending university one day to study bioanalysis.

Claudia Castillo | Pancho Mateo

Claudia lives in Pancho Mateo with her husband, Carlito, also a cooperador, her two children, and Carlito’s younger siblings whom the couple support. Claudia would like to improve sanitation in the community, as well as further improve individual patient care. She loves taking care of her patients and helping them understand their medications.

Dania Balbuena | Pancho Mateo

Dania lives in Pancho Mateo with her husband, son and daughter. She says she is proud to be a cooperadora with HHI because of the commitment to follow-up with patients in the community, and it fulfills a longtime desire to be a nurse. Dania recently started a small cafe business with a neighbor, and likes to go to the beach with her family in her limited spare time.

Dorka Duarte | Severet

Dorka serves as a pastor in Severet, and has been married to her husband, Pedro, who is also a pastor, for over 20 years. They have two teenage children together. Dorka studied Math during university and currently teaches at a school for Haitian and Dominican children. She says, “Being a cooperadora is something beautiful because we can help and guide other people. For example, I’ve always done that in my community but now I feel more secure in the advice that I give about how to take medicines, how they should care for their health, and how to manage common illnesses. I’m always asking people in my community how they feel, if their medicines are helping, and if they’re eating correctly. I feel a responsibility to take care of them.”

Estela Sánchez | Negro Melo

Estela and her husband have six children aged 3 – 15 years. She enjoys playing with her children and helping them with their homework. She was interested in becoming a cooperadora because she likes helping people, and she wanted to be able to better serve her community. She views the biggest public health concern in Negro Melo to be a lack of toilets. About her work as a cooperadora, Estela says, “I go house to house taking blood pressure and checking on patients. I am a leader in my community and I follow up on patients.”

Genesis Hernandez Gonzales | Pancho Mateo

Genesis lives in Pancho Mateo with her two brothers, mom and five dogs. In addition to working as a cooperadora, Genesis has completed an auxiliary nursing course, is the secretary at her church, and currently works as a teacher at a rural elementary school. She would like to continue studying, but is unsure if she would rather be a teacher or a doctor. Either way, she says, she wants to work with children.

Luz Mercedes Morfe | Pancho Mateo

Luz lives with her husband, their two children, and two other children whom they support. In addition to working as a cooperadora for HHI, Luz works for the non-profit CEPROSH, which provides HIV/AIDS testing, treatment, and education, and is president of her church’s women’s group. Luz is concerned about the lack of sanitation – particularly latrines and toilets – in her community. Luz plans to finish secondary school this year and begin to study psychology at the university.

Mercedes Sánchez Garcia | Arroyo de Leche

Mercedes and her husband, Franklin, have four daughters. Their son Edwin passed away at the age of 13 from leukemia. An ultimate caregiver, Mercedes loves helping others, which drove her to become a cooperadora with Health Horizons. She also loves to cook, saying, “Everything is my specialty.” She views the biggest problems in her community to be diabetes and hypertension. Mercedes says, “A cooperador is a leader because if a sick person is found in my community, I can bring him/her to the nearest medical center. I also feel happy participating in the medical service trips, and taking patients’ blood pressure.”

Santa Corina Sanchez | Arroyo de Leche

Corina lives in Arroyo de Leche with her husband and their three children, where she loves to grow flowers and herbs. She would love to own a salon in Arroyo de Leche, where currently there is none, but she uses her entrepreneurial skills nonetheless to provide hair styling and manicures out of her home. She is also adept at using the salon as an opportunity to check up with her patients!

Willy Destin | Pancho Mateo

Willy was born and raised in Pancho Mateo, where he lives with his mother. After learning about HHI’s work through Cedric, he was excited to become a cooperador. In addition to patient care, Willy works as one of HHI’s interpreters (in Spanish, English and Kreyol) during the field clinics. In his spare time, Willy studies computers, plays basketball, and writes and sings hip-hop and rap. He recently graduated from high school, and now hopes to attend medical school. His two biggest goals in life are to become a doctor, and to buy his mom a better house.

Yajaira Contreras | Severet

Yajaira lives in Severet with her husband Miguel and their one year old son. Her good friend Catherine is also a cooperadora in Severet, and it was Catherine who introduced Yajaira to HHI. Yajaira was drawn by the opportunity to learn about medicine and serve her community. One of her favorite things about being a cooperadora is helping her patients manage hypertension by measuring their blood pressures. She loves studying, wants to finish her bachillerato (high school degree), and dreams of one day working as an architectural engineer.

Yudelka Dorrejo | Pancho Mateo

Yudelka (Yudi) lives in Pancho Mateo with her husband, their four children, and two other children whom they support. She says with so many people in the house, there is always laughter, singing, games and debate, which she loves. In addition to working as a cooperadora, Yudi has initiated her own clothes-selling business out of her house, and would some day like to become a nurse.