Tulane Medical Team Heads for Haiti

On Saturday (March 27) a team of Tulane volunteers, including physicians, medical students, alumni and staff members, will travel to Jacsonville, a rural community in Haiti with about 1,000 inhabitants, to run a week-long urgent care clinic and start plans for a permanent clinic — the first for the town.

Tulane medical student Richard Brucker examines a child from St. Rose de Lima school in Haiti. (Photo by Lindsey Riggen)

This is the second trip to Jacsonville by Tulane students and doctors, according to Alison Smith, a fourth-year MD/PhD student. "Our first medical mission was last year," she says. "The intention was to bring medical students and Tulane-associated physicians to a village in the Haitian countryside and start a movement towards having a functioning, full-time clinic, run by Haitians in this community."

Jacsonville is approximately 200 miles northeast of Port-au-Prince on the island's central plateau. The volunteers will fly into the capital city, then they will be flown to a small airport near Jacsonville by American missionaries.

"It's a very poor community," says Smith. "They have no health care, no access to anything. We wanted to get something started by giving the local people the tools they need to move towards this permanent clinic."

The volunteer group consists of nine third- and fourth-year Tulane medical students, an uptown staff member, and three physicians: a Tulane psychiatry intern, Dr. Chris Rodgman; a Tulane medical school alumnus, Dr. Peter Klara of Nashville; and a family physician in Kansas, Dr. Sue Rodgman, mother of Dr. Chris Rodgman.

"We also have worked with Dr. Charles Rene, a Tulane ob/gyn, who is from Haiti," says Smith. "He runs a clinic in the south part of the country, and he is supporting our efforts."

Future visits to Jacsonville are also in the works, says Smith. The Tulane group is appealing for donations of medical supplies and money. Contact Alison Bays about drop-off locations.

To donate money, visit the Goy Foundation website and specify "Tulane."