Harvard Medical School, in partnership with the Abundance Foundation, Partners In Health and the Global Health Delivery Program, announces the launch of the Abundance Project for Global Health. This partnership empowers local health care workers in Haiti and Rwanda and trains a new generation of health care providers. A seed gift from the Abundance Foundation was committed through the Clinton Global Initiative to create the Abundance Project for Global Health. The Project will support networks of clinicians, medical researchers, and teachers caring for resource-poor communities.
Stephen Kahn, MD, president of the Abundance Foundation and graduate of HMS, announced a commitment of over $1 million at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting in September. “The Abundance Foundation is committed to improving global health by strengthening medical education and health systems, ” Kahn said. “We are honored to partner with these visionary organizations that recognize that the solutions to sustainable development lie within the communities being served. The faculty and students who are empowered through these efforts will advance the field of global health while extending fundamental human freedoms in Haiti and Rwanda.”
The HMS portion of the project will be housed in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, a multidisciplinary department that conducts social-science research and provides clinical expertise throughout the developing world. “We are proud to be a partner in the Abundance Project for Global Health, ” said Jeffrey S. Flier, MD, dean of Harvard Medical School. “Our students have a great hunger to alleviate human suffering in the areas of the world that are most in need, and this project will significantly strengthen our ability to educate and inspire future generations of global health leaders.”
The Abundance Project for Global Health will be led by Louise Ivers, MD, MPH, chief of mission for PIH-Haiti, assistant professor of medicine at HMS and associate physician at BWH, and Corrado Cancedda, MD, PhD, medical education director for PIH-Rwanda, instructor of medicine at HMS and associate physician at BWH. Drs. Ivers and Cancedda are the first Abundance Partners for Global Health.
“The Abundance Project both exemplifies and extends the work of this department, ” said Paul E. Farmer, MD, PhD, chair of the Department and chief of the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “Since the Department’s inception—and since many of us, including Stephen Kahn, were medical students—we have been building a model of integrated research, teaching and service for global health delivery. The teaching and training of local clinicians that will be supported by this project is an important part of that model, as is the delivery of high-quality care in resource poor settings like the ones Drs. Ivers and Cancedda serve. Here at HMS, the opportunities created for Abundance Project scholars and fellows will have a profound influence on the direction of their research and clinical careers and on the way global health is taught.”
Furthermore, the Abundance Project for Global Health will also support the expansion of Global Health Delivery Online (GHDonline.org) to ensure that essential knowledge is spread across the wider community. Fellows and scholars will participate in the Clinical Exchange community, a secured platform that provides case and specialists consultations between clinicians in Rwanda, Haiti, and at the Brigham and Women’s hospital. “This community not only provides consult services, affecting the health outcomes of more than one hundred patients to date, but also offers invaluable training to its members through exposure to rare cases and specialists’ insights on a wide range of sub-specialties, ” said Rebecca Weintraub, MD, the executive director of GHD. The first site for the planned expansion of the Clinical Exchange community is Saint Nicholas Hospital in Saint Marc, where many PIH clinicians, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, are serving the communities at the epicenter of the cholera outbreak.
To highlight the central role of local practitioners in solving the most challenging health crises, the Abundance Foundation produced a film, Haiti’s Heroes, which debuted Sept. 20 at the Clinton Global Initiative annual summit. The film, which can be viewed online at abundancefound.org, tells the story of Dr. Kobel Dubique, who runs a PIH clinic in Parc Jean-Marie Vincent, a large settlement in which over 50, 000 earthquake survivors continue to live. The Cine Institute, Haiti’s only film school, co-produced the film, and 100% of the funds raised as a result of the film will go to train and support the Haitian health staff of Partners In Health.