Message to Supporters and Friends from the Board Chair
It is with regret that I note the resignation of Elizabeth Geier as Executive Director of HHI. Elizabeth’s dedication, energy, and diligence over the last three years helped to bring HHI’s impact to new heights. Among her many accomplishments as Executive Director, she was responsible for expanding the reach of our community health workers program, scaling our model of clinical care for chronic disease through partnerships across the Puerto Plata province, and driving our work to prevent the incidence of chronic disease. Notably, she executed a highly successful project funded by the World Diabetes Foundation to improve the quality of diabetic treatment in the Dominican Republic at the primary care level. She brought HHI into meaningful partnerships at the regional and national levels of the Dominican Ministry of Public Health. We are grateful to Elizabeth for her service and leadership, and wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors.
During this transition period, your engagement in our work is as important as ever. The Board of Directors is deeply committed to ensuring the continuity and stability of our organization. Two weeks ago, I traveled to the Dominican Republic with Laura McNulty, HHI’s founding Executive Director and current Treasurer of the Board, to meet with our very capable staff. They are forging ahead with our current programs and are excited to continue sharing HHI’s progress with you. In terms of interim management, I have appointed Laura as the Transition Director. Although she will be based in Boston where she is employed, she will be in regular communication with the senior management team — Kary Colón, Nassim Díaz, Sheila Calderón, and Marinelli Gutierrez — and staff, and will travel to the Dominican Republic periodically. While there will be challenges, the transition could not be in better hands and we are positioned to succeed.
The search for a new Executive Director begins this week. The job description can be found here. We encourage you to share the job description with your networks. As our dedicated supporters, your support in helping us find our next Executive Director is much appreciated.
The mission of HHI is to improve community health and primary health care in the Dominican Republic by empowering local leaders, strengthening the quality of primary care delivery, and promoting public health. We have come a long way from a narrow operation in one province to having a national reach working with international partners. We could not have done it without the support of our donors and we deeply appreciate them. Thank you, and I encourage you to keep in touch and to reach out with any questions or comments.
Craig W. Czarsty, M.D., DABFM
Message from the Executive Director
Dear Friends and Supporters,
The past three years of growth and transformation at Health Horizons International created a foundation for the organization to be able to successfully achieve the mission of improving community health and primary health care on a much broader scale. As I move on from HHI, I want to give my deepest gratitude to all who have been so supportive of the organization and of me personally during my time as Executive Director: the HHI team, Board of Directors, volunteers, donors, and, of course, our partners. Without you, the organization would not be as strong and impactful as it is and the significant achievements made during the past three years would not have been possible.
With your support HHI’s model, rooted in community engagement and sustainable long-term improvements for primary health care, has taken shape, and that has meant a bigger impact for improved community health, more communities reached, more health centers and hospitals supported, more doctors, nurses and Community Health Workers trained, and a higher population being supported to live healthier, dignified lives.
HHI’s programs are now collaboratively supporting the Dominican health system to improve primary health care through training, capacity building and technical support. The team is working together with the Dominican Ministry of Public Health to train doctors and nurses, and finding new ways to improve how the quality of health care is monitored and measured. During the past two years, HHI has trained 60 Dominican doctors and 30 nurses in the care of diabetes, and we have created new monitoring tools to measure the quality of care at primary care centers across the country, the first point of care for many people living in poverty in the Dominican Republic.
Together with partners from the community level to the national level in the Dominican Republic, the team has helped empower community leaders by supporting the Community Health Worker (CHW) system across the Province of Puerto Plata with training and supporting the national Ministry of Public Health to create new CHW training materials. Through this important work HHI is supporting CHWs to be the bridge between their communities and the health system. In the past three years HHI has increased the number of CHWs that the organization is training and supporting from 16 to 114. Each of these CHWs brings vital health information, carries out life saving referrals, and acts as an agent of change in their communities.
HHI is doing more than ever before to improve community health in the Dominican Republic, and it has been an honor to lead the organization through this important phase of organizational and programmatic growth. HHI is lucky to have a very dedicated team of staff and volunteers who will continue carrying out the organization’s successful programs. I am so thankful for my time working with each of them. As I move on from HHI and look towards the future it will be my experiences with the organization’s staff, Board and partners that I will be building on within my own career.
I encourage all of you to continue supporting HHI and to consider getting more involved in the future with the important work that is being done to break the cycle of poverty and disease in the Dominican Republic. I look forward to seeing future progress and hearing about the wonderful work that Health Horizons International will continue to do in the future.