CUSON Responds to Crisis in Haiti

Columbia University School of Nursing, under the auspices of its WHO Collaborating Center, is continuing its long history of coming to the aid of those in need. Just as the founder of the School, Anna Maxwell, recruited Columbia nurses in 1898 to assist in field hospitals during the Spanish-American War, the School is doing the same for those affected by the recent earthquake in Haiti. We are now mobilizing a team of alumni, faculty and students to provide urgent health services in Haiti. They will join physicians and faculty from CUMC already in Port au Prince to staff hospitals and mobile clinics set up by the International Medical Corp (IMC), a non-profit US agency. The urgent need now is for practitioners with clinical skills in emergency, surgical and post op care, and alumni and students with these specific skills have been the focus of our first request. One of our Doctor of Nursing Practice students is Haitian, and she will help this Columbia nursing cohort with her translation skills, as well as delivering on the ground care as a family nurse practitioner and pain specialist. Assisting with the coordination of this effort, is faculty member Dr. Richard Garfield, who is a consultant with the CDC and an expert in disaster relief efforts. Our commitment going forward is to partner with the Haitian national university nursing school, much of which was destroyed (and many of its students and faculty killed). While it is important to render as much help as possible immediately, the School is dedicated to helping rebuild the nursing infrastructure so desperately needed in Haiti. Practitioners with clinical skills in emergency, surgical, and post-op care are the most needed, but primary care providers are also important. Systems for transport, housing and food have been established and will be provided to these volunteers. Only those with experience in emergency care, critical care, international health or disaster response and able to stay in the field for a minimum of 2 weeks will be considered. Access will be via Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, then to Haiti by car. There may be a nominal stipend.

Posted: 01/28/2010


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