Serving in Haiti as One Big Family

Family Medicine Physician Serving in Haiti

Dr. Kendra Richardson says she had a wonderful experience serving in Haiti through Spaugh Dameron Tenny’s GOtoGROW Scholarship program. On October 13th, Dr. Richardson traveled to Grand-Goâve, Haiti with five other Bless Back Worldwide medical providers who are pictured above. These medical providers worked hard, serving in Mission of Hope International’s primary clinic and two nearby outreach sites during one short week!

Family Medicine Physician Service Trip to Haiti

Grand-Goâve, Haiti History

The primary clinic in Grand-Goâve, Haiti is operated by Mission of Hope International, which was established in 2000 by Lexidan and Renée Edmé. Our Charlotte based partner, Bless Back Worldwide enhances healthcare, enriches educations and empowers business by partnering with local organizations in Haiti and Nicaragua. Mission of Hope International has been their Haitian partner in Grand Goave, Haiti since 2012. Their organization serves the Grand Goave and surrounding area though leadership and pastoral training events, two privately funded schools for 800+ children, daily medical and dental clinics. The  Grand-Goâve organization also provides many employment opportunities and much more.  Bless Back Worldwide partners with Mission of Hope International to help support their medical clinic, providing new educational opportunities for both their students and teachers, in support of their trade schools and economic development.

As you can see on the map above, Grand-Goâve is located in the Southern part of Haiti, right on the coast. The town is one of the oldest cities of the country and was 90% destroyed by the horrible earthquake that occurred in January of 2010. The earthquake drew a response team from a Charlotte church to offer temporary relief. The inaugural group of twenty-two colleagues and friends quickly realized the Haitians needed more than short-term relief. In January of 2011, Bless Back Worldwide was formed when they sent their first team to Haiti.

Working Together to Improve the Lives of Haitians

Fast forward to 2018, and today Spaugh Dameron Tenny is partnering with Bless Back to sponsor passionate physicians and dentists to join Bless Back’s many teams that are deployed to Haiti throughout each year. Dr. Richardson was chosen as a GOtoGROW scholarship recipient because of her compassion for serving others. She is currently a Family Medicine Physician at CaroMont Health, in the Lake Wylie, SC area. Here is her perspective of the GOtoGROW experience before and after her trip:

 

Dr. Richardson’s GOtoGROW Experience

What are you most excited or nervous/uncertain about?

I am always excited about experiencing a new culture.  Not being able to speak the language can be scary and uncomfortable but to know we have interpreters definitely helps the transition. I personally would like to use my years of medical training to help the people of Haiti with their medical needs. I want to make a difference in the lives of others.

 

Even though you were in Haiti for only a week, how did your skills and the Bless Back team contribute to a sustainable program to help Haiti after you leave?

Helping the pharmacy team learn to draw labs such as hemoglobin, glucose, and malaria testing was amazing. They were so excited and I am sure they will continue to do these tests in the future.

Family Medicine Physician Serving in Haiti

 

Do you think medical missions can help with physician burnout?

I think it can help. Mission trips can be challenging with long days, seeing many patients and having limited resources, however, being able to practice medicine with no insurance restraints, overhead, or 15 minute time slots makes every minute working worthwhile.

 

What theme did you notice during your time in Haiti?

Humility, humanity, and family centered. It was such a humbling experience to see how much you can do with limited resources. Everyone in the clinic, guesthouse, and church all felt like one big family. I always felt at ease and at home. Everyone was so appreciative of our help and the energy was so positive and uplifting.

Family Medicine Physician Service Trip to Haiti
How many patients did you see? Tell us about a patient that impacted you the most…

We saw quite a bit of patients during the week. I had an elderly lady who was having trouble seeing. I was able to provide her reading glasses that worked for her and this brightened up her day. She was able to see clearly for the first time in a while. It was like she was in a brand new world.

 

Dr. Richardson’s Top 3 Takeaways from her Bless Back trip:
  1. Always remain humble
  2. Appreciate all gifts the world has to offer
  3. Never stop giving back

 

Apply for a life-changing experience and the opportunity to care for the people of Haiti through a GOtoGROW Scholarship.

 

CRN202011-239827

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Molly Holbert

Molly Holbert | Spaugh Dameron Tenny