“We went to Haiti with definite objectives,” says Edward Gotfried, D.O., the center’s director. On site, Gotfried and fellow NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine
professors William Blazey, Deborah Lardner, and Michael Passafaro explored future educational opportunities in global health for NYIT students, built contacts with area physicians, and coordinated partnerships with local nonprofit groups Doctors United for Haiti
and Save the Children
The team provided on-site medical training to doctors in Limbe and Peredo and also worked with local healthcare providers—at times treating more than 100 patients a day in single-room, cement-walled clinics with bare tables and little room for privacy.
“Haiti is progressing, but the country has a long way to go,” says Passafaro, who worked in Haiti for six weeks following the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that rocked the country’s already compromised infrastructure in January 2010. “I can pass on what I see to our students—it stirs their interest in helping others and opens their eyes to the potential they may have.”
“The ability to use OMM preempts logistical barriers like the lack of electricity, running water, and lab equipment,” adds Passafaro, explaining that the treatments brought relief to many patients suffering from musculoskeletal problems related to farming and water retrieval.
The doctors also diagnosed patients with a range of illnesses, including cholera and typhoid. For those patients, hospital care was several hours away. Nevertheless, Passafaro says he saw improvements in some areas.
“Families still live in tents, there is rubble in the streets where buildings used to stand, and electricity and running water are scant at best in some areas,” says Passafaro. “But contrary to what I saw in January of 2010, I now see children walking to school—shops are open selling their goods and services, people have smiles on their faces.”
Gotfried said he is optimistic about continuing NYIT’s efforts to work with other organizations in Haiti.
“All of our objectives were met, and most importantly, we saved lives,” he said.
Doctors and students from the Center for Global Health are planning return trips to Ghana, El Salvador, and Belize this summer.
New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) offers 90 degree programs, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees, in more than 50 fields of study, including architecture and design; arts and sciences; education; engineering and computing sciences; health professions; management; and osteopathic medicine. A non-profit independent, private institution of higher education, NYIT has 14,000 students attending campuses on Long Island and Manhattan, online, and at its global campuses. NYIT sponsors 11 NCAA Division II programs and one Division I team.
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