Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Time Flies!

Dear Readers,

If you're still around, thanks for sticking with us! The past few months have been very busy for the Friends of HAS, as we are still adjusting to the aftermath of the earthquake in January. The earthquake, though tragic, has brought about a good deal of positive change at Hôpital Albert Schweitzer Haiti, including new programs in collaboration with national and international organizations. Here are a few updates on our work in Haiti and in the US.

One of these programs is a community development project, which is a collaborative effort between HAS Haiti and the United Nations. This project aims to employ many of the internally displaced Haitians in the Artibonite Valley through providing crucial improvements to the communities in this region. This includes everything from road improvements to a community mural project. You can follow this project's progress at their blog here, or of course, you can expect updates on the Friends' blog.

Another such project instituted in the past few months is the creation of a long-term prosthetic and rehabilitation center, based in Deschapelles, Haiti, near to HAS. This March, HAS announced that it was launching a new center in partnership with the Haitian Amputee Coalition. Through the creation of this center, the opportunity has arisen for HAS to play a significant role in the future of Haiti's health care by serving as one of eight planned centers for the provision of artificial limbs in the country. As with any disability, the loss of a limb in Haiti quickly translates into a loss of livelihood and economic security in an already fragile economic environment. With appropriate prosthesis and rehabilitative care, most patients can regain substantial mobility and independence, and can even enter the work force. Staffed by the US prosthetic experts from Hanger Orthopedic Group and Physicians for Peace, in conjunction with local Haitian medical professionals, the Haitian Amputee Coalition for Prosthetics and Rehabilitation Center at HAS is now functional. This initiative also compliments HAS's Rehabilitation Technician Training Program, which, as you know, was established in 2007 in collaboration with Health Volunteers Overseas to build professional infrastructure for rehabilitation services in Haiti. We are all very excited to be a part of this effort, which addresses a monumental need in today's Haiti.

On the US front, we have indeed had our hands full! Our very own Dr. Ian Rawson gave the commencement address at Carnegie Mellon University's graduation ceremony a few weeks ago. View the speech here.

Earlier this month, the Friends of HAS Haiti's Pittsburgh Marathon team was successful in not only completing a very long race, but in managing to raise over $8,000 for the Rehabilitation Technician Training Program. Congratulations team!

Plans are now well underway for our annual benefit gala, which will occur this year on September 10, 2010. The event will be honoring Louise Stephaich, a hospital board member who has worked tirelessly for the cause both before and after the earthquake. The event will be held at the Ellis Armory in Pittsburgh's Shadyside neighborhood. Ticket prices and more details will come soon! See the Save the Date email here. To request more information, or an official invitation to the event, email us at info@friendsofhas.org.

We are so excited about where we are headed as an organization, and we really could not do what we do without the support of our friends. Thank you for your continued support of our cause, and please stay in touch!

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