Bringing our “model of care” to Haiti

December 2, 2015 § Leave a comment

By Lauren Easton, Senior Director of Behavioral Health Services, Commonwealth Care Alliance

In 2012, a few months after Haiti was rocked by a devastating earthquake, clinicians from Commonwealth Care Alliance (CCA) and Commonwealth Community Care (CCC) traveled to the island to offer help. Specifically, we went to St. Boniface Hospital in Fond-des-Blancs to care for patients with spinal cord injuries, an area of expertise for our staff.

St Boniface

After spending some time at St. Boniface, we learned that the hospital’s medical capacity was good. What was not good, however, was the hospital’s ability to address the many behavioral health issues facing their patients.

This realization led us to form a partnership with St. Boniface that continues to this day. CCA and CCC staff have made regular trips to Haiti, offering Behavioral Health conferences, trainings and individual consultation, for staff at St Boniface as well as providers across the country.  Many of or trainings have had over 75 participants.  After participating in the training, staff receive certificates of completion.  Some of our work with the hospital focuses on psychiatric concerns, but we have also been involved in fundraising efforts to bring medicine to those in need and improve emergency care services. In addition, there is a strong interest in bringing the CCA model of care to Haiti.

Our “interdisciplinary” approach has been difficult to implement in Haiti, as infrastructure and travel problems can make member visits take up to 14 hours. Still, we are working with clinicians to show how they can parallel our model of care. In fact, over the past few years, many St. Boniface clinicians have come to Boston to take part in member visits, receive training, and learn first-hand about our approach.

In September, I traveled to Haiti to facilitate a behavioral health conference at the St. Boniface Hospital(SBHF). (See photos.) On November 29, I returned to the island with Sue Daniel, (CCC BH manger) Barbara Hantz (Administrative Executive Director CCC), and Nadia Valentine (NP previously worked for CCC) to take part in another conference. Our partnership with St. Boniface has been rewarding for all involved, and we plan to continue working with our Haitian colleagues in the months and years to come to improve training and services for those in need.

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