A Message from Craig W. Czarsty, M.D.: Renewal at Health Horizons

Dear Friends and Supporters of HHI:

This autumn has been a season of new directions for HHI, all of them positive.

As you know, after a comprehensive search for a new Executive Director, we hired Edgar Castillo.  He is settling into life on the north coast and is busily making plans to move HHI forward.  I am thrilled that our vision for the E.D. of HHI matched his desire to make a difference in the lives and the health of people in his country.  I am very excited about HHI’s prospects with Edgar at the helm.

The Board of Directors of HHI met on Saturday and as part of a thought-out and planned transition, I ended my tenure as President and Board Chair.  I am one of the co-founders of HHI and have been President since the day I signed the incorporation documents in 2009.   I take tremendous pride in how far HHI has come as an organization and in the lives we have touched.  I only take partial credit because HHI is a team effort and is the product of countless hours of hard work by the staff and the Board.   I don’t think it’s healthy for one person to stay in the President’s role for too long however.   HHI has been expanding beyond the direct provision of health care, something I know a lot about, into the public health realm with which I am less familiar.   It is time for a new leader equipped with knowledge and skills in public health.   The good news for me is that I am really not going anywhere.  The Board was gracious enough to create the position of “President Emeritus” and elect me to it.   I will continue to serve on the HHI Board and do whatever I can to advance the cause.  Leading HHI for its first eight years was an honor and a joy and a highlight of my professional life.  I cannot thank the Board enough for placing its trust in me and I can’t thank you friends and supporters of HHI for your trust in all of us.

The good news for HHI is that the new President and Board Chair is Laura McNulty.   Laura is also a co-founder and was our first Executive Director.   Laura brings a wealth of knowledge, savoir faire and experience.   She has been the Treasurer since we started and I am only slightly exaggerating when I say she taught herself accounting in order to manage our finances.   She recently moved from Boston to St. Louis to begin graduate studies in public health and social work.   When she is done, she will not just have two master’s degrees, she will be a master of those subject areas.  What two degrees could be more relevant to the work HHI does?   Laura is a born leader who is always prepared and always has not only thoughtful analysis of a given situation but clearly defined recommendations for any action required.   I couldn’t possibly leave HHI in better hands than Laura’s and I can’t wait to see HHI thrive under her leadership.

I can’t close without mentioning Brad Wilkinson.  “Dr. Brad” is another co-founder who has been the Vice President since we began and is the bedrock of our clinical program.  He also resigned to make way for new leadership and was succeeded by Chris Meelia.  Brad is not going anywhere either and will remain on the Board.  Brad has been my “wing man” all these years and I have depended on him for his sage advice in times of trouble.  I have also depended on him when needed to whittle my ego down to size with just the right insult.  He has become my “brother from another mother” and I can’t thank him enough for all he has done for HHI.

As autumn gives way to the holiday season, I would like to appeal to the friends and supporters of HHI to give generously to support our mission to strengthen the delivery of primary care and improve the public health in the Dominican Republic.  We continue to provide direct care through our chronic disease program.   We are strengthening the delivery of primary care in partnership with the Ministry of Public Health and the World Diabetes Foundation.  We are bettering the public health through our “Sano y Feliz” program.   We are doing what we say we will and in this upcoming season of giving, I hope you will make a donation that will allow us to continue doing it.

Sincerely,

Craig W. Czarsty, M.D.

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