Ochsner Health is a system that delivers health to the people of Louisiana, Mississippi and the Gulf South with a mission to Serve, Heal, Lead, Educate and Innovate.
A 7.0 magnitude earthquake (“Goudougoudou” as Haitians call it) shook the Caribbean nation of Haiti resulting in one of the worst natural disasters seen in the Western Hemisphere. The world watched in horror at the apocalyptic scenes that were being show on the television.
The tragedy hit close to home as the images of Haiti reminded many in New Orleans of the devastation caused by Katrina. With the support of the Ochsner leadership we were able to provide health and humanitarian assistance directly to the victims of the earthquake. Ochsner’s involvement in the relief efforts in the aftermath of the earthquake was our largest international relief effort to date. The Ochsner leadership also realized that this was also an opportunity to provide our trainees in our newly formed UQ/Ochsner Clinical School a global health experience while also fulfilling our mission to serve, heal, educate and innovate on a local and global scale.
The Haitian experience in the aftermath of the Earthquake in 2010 led to the incorporation of the annual Haiti trip as part of the Medicine in Society Rotation. Medicine in Society(MIS) elective course provided the perfect curriculum for fourth year students to gain first hand clinical experience and to understand the challenges and benefits of clinical practice amongst population groups and or communities that face access and equity challenges associated with health service delivery and poverty.
This global health rotation provided students a global view of clinical medicine from a holistic biopsychosocial lens which contextualizes how factors such as poverty, education, neo-colonialism, geographic isolation, socio-economic status, religion, culture, ethnicity, structural racism as well as political matters can adversely impact the health of individuals and populations. The students emerge from these rotations with a deeper understanding of the social determinants of health both on a local and global perspective.
Toussaint L'Ouverture - a Haitian general and the most prominent leader of the Haitian Revolution.
Before Haiti established itself as the first free independent black republic in the new world in 1804, Haiti ranked as the world’s richest and most productive colony.
Haiti was the first nation in the world to abolish slavery and that Haitians fought in the American War of Independence against the British in the Battle of Savanah in 1779.
Haiti has the worst health indicators in the western hemisphere. The Human Development Index(HDI) ranks countries in human development based on life expectancy, education and per capita income indicators. Haiti scores “low” on the HDI and is in the lowest quartile of development globally. It therefore provides a unique opportunity for the study, practice and research of global health under the supervision of both Ochsner and Haitian physicians.
The UQ-OCS Global Health Experience is a mutually beneficial and respectful partnership. There is a great emphasis on respecting and understanding the local communities that we partner with by allowing them to prioritize their needs and concerns. We realize that we benefit far more from the experience and the exchange by being exposed different challenges not commonly faced while practicing or rotation in the United States. However we still hold ourselves to the the highest ethical standards of practice and quality of care.