The Haitian Crisis: What You Can Do

To members of the Tufts School of Medicine community:

The recent earthquake in Haiti has led to tragic loss of life, extensive destruction and the creation of a humanitarian crisis of epic proportion. The efforts to rebuild Haiti will need to be sustained in the months and years to come.

Many of you have asked what you can do to help. Based on reports from groups on the ground in Haiti and experts in the field of disaster relief, the best way to help at this stage is through your financial donation. While we can understand the sentiment of many students who have expressed the desire to travel to Haiti to provide direct help, it is important that we carefully consider what would, in fact, be the most effective way to help.

In the early stages of the aftermath of a disaster of this proportion, the most acute needs are best addressed by trained health professionals with expertise in emergency and trauma care. These include orthopedic surgeons, trauma surgeons and anesthesiologists. As we move into the later stages of the relief efforts, the skills of other types of health professionals, trainees and students can be more effectively deployed.

We will therefore recommend that, unless you have the requisite training as described above, you consider making a donation to one of a number of local organizations currently working on the ground in Haiti. One such organization is Partners in Health (PIH). Founded by Drs Paul Farmer and Jim Kim, PIH has over two decades of experience working in Haiti. If you would like to make a donation to PIH, or would like to learn more about the situation on the ground, please visit PIH's website.

There are many other established relief organizations besides PIH currently working in Haiti. The sidebar on this page contains a partial list of organizations to which you may consider making a donation.

In the days and weeks ahead, it will be essential to coordinate our efforts to assist with the medical relief and re-building efforts in Haiti. We will be seeking your input as well as input from experts in the field, in hopes of offering a range of options for those of you who wish to become more directly involved. In the meantime, our thoughts and prayers remain with the people of Haiti, as well as with the Haitian community in the Greater Boston area, many of whom have lost loved ones in the earthquake.

Harris Berman, M.D.
Dean, TUSM

Joyce Sackey, M.D.
Dean for Multicultural Affairs and Global Health

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