Doctors United For Haiti (DUFH): “Saving Haiti’s Healthcare System Through Academic Efforts.”

Doctors United For Haiti (DUFH): “Saving Haiti’s Healthcare System Through Academic Efforts.”

HaitiDanville, United States
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

DUFH is changing Haiti’s healthcare system through academic efforts while providing its Diaspora a solution for their families in Haiti.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

People in Haiti are dying from preventable diseases due to lack of primary care and preventative services. The healthcare workforce is scant and ill equipped to deal with this challenge. The healthcare system is fragmented, with numerous uncoordinated bi-lateral and multi-lateral programs. There is poor coordination between NGOs and the Haitian Ministry of Health, resulting in unreliable monitoring and evaluation of Haiti’s healthcare system. A crucial source of aid for Haiti is its Diaspora community through remittances. Effective leveraging of Diaspora resources represents an innovative approach to increase access to and the financial sustainability of high-quality primary and preventative care in Haiti.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

DUFH’s integrated healthcare team model leverages the diaspora’s support and academic expertise from healthcare professionals in the US to provide a Health Plan for primary and preventative health services to Haitians, while advancing the professional development of Haitian healthcare professionals. An integrated team consisting of local Haitian providers and healthcare volunteers will provide quality health care services, requesting support to meet specific identified challenges. US volunteer health care professionals will provide continuing medical education programs for participating Haitian health care professionals (e.g., medical lecture series, telemedicine and joint research initiatives) to complement direct technical assistance. These interactions provide a network of people, communication, information,and knowledge sharing. An enabling Information Communication Technologies (ICT) infrastructure supports the DUFH interaction matrix.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

DUFH will be set up as an Accountable Care Organization (ACO) and provide a Health Plan that will be available for purchase by Haitians residing in the US for their families in Haiti. The plan will offer primary and preventive services through the integrated delivery teams. DUFH will partner with facilities and independent Haitian healthcare providers in Haiti. We will provide professional development to expand clinical capabilities to complement care provided to beneficiaries of the health plan and develop legally binding contracts with plan participants, including a small stipend for the participating local Haitian physicians. We will increase the number of providers through continuing medical education to nurses and physician extenders. Training will focus on diagnosis and management of chronic and infectious diseases. DUFH will offer an opportunity for Healthcare volunteers to travel to Haiti to work alongside local Haitian providers via either lecture, research, or clinical tracks. The lecture track allows volunteers to provide learning experiences to Haitian healthcare professionals. Expert volunteers will also be involved in the curriculum for task shifting for nurses and physician extenders. The research track allows volunteers to conduct research with Haitian professionals in their fields. The clinical track allows volunteer physicians/nurses and allied healthcare professionals to partner with a Haitian healthcare provider in his or her perspective field. This team will be directly involved in caring for the patients enrolled in the Health Plan.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

The surge of recent relief efforts by donors has evolved into diverse portfolios targeted to NGOs with capacity building priorities. These NGOs are financially strong and have historical presence in Haiti with excellent medical competency and capacity to accomplish tasks. Despite these proficiencies there is a global call for sustainable country ownership and decentralization. DUFH is uniquely positioned to deliver just that with its innovative approach. Newer NGOs are emerging to develop community health agents in the country. Although it may help increase the presence of providers it does not empower current Haitian healthcare professionals. They also rely on donor funds for sustainability with no efforts to harness the power of the diaspora community.

Founding Story

I am Haitian-American and a member of the US Haitian diaspora. Over the past 10 years, I participated in health care mission trips to Haiti with various organizations. However, I always felt that something was missing. I realized that the patients we helped were left with no follow up care, and my interactions with Haitian healthcare professionals were limited. Subsequently, I sought out local Haitian physicians to share medical knowledge. I brought medical text books and other educational materials to those sessions. We started visiting overworked Haitian physicians in rural areas with few resources. After relationship building we learned of the challenges they face providing high-quality care and their resentments towards NGOs who they perceived as failing to provide direct support to local Haitian physicians with their own practices. If they are not hired to work within a NGO, they often must emigrate. In response, in 2006 we created Doctors United For Haiti (DUFH).
About You
Doctors United For Haiti (DUFH)
About You
About Your Organization
Organization Name

Doctors United For Haiti (DUFH)

Organization Country

, PA, Danville

Country where this project is creating social impact
How long has your organization been operating?

More than 5 years

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How long have you been in operation?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Which of the following best describes the barrier(s) your innovation addresses? Choose up to two

Access, Equity.

Social Impact
Please describe the goal of your initiative; outline what you are trying to achieve

Our goal is to improve and increase the primary and preventive healthcare services in Haiti through an innovative model that brings together volunteer healthcare providers and local Haitian healthcare providers. In addition, the Haitian Diaspora will be able to invest in the healthcare of their family members and loved ones in Haiti by capitalizing on DUFH’s integrated healthcare team model. Through continued medical education, DUFH will be able to increase Haiti’s healthcare capacity and provide quality healthcare for all Haitians. DUFH’s main goal is the creation of a self-sustained healthcare system in Haiti.

What has been the impact of your solution to date?

We have established a volunteer corps primarily from University of Michigan, New York Institute of Technology, Geisinger Medical Center and Michigan State University, and are actively recruiting other healthcare volunteers from other institutions who have signed up on our website. These volunteers have been able to provide support to local Haitian healthcare providers through relief of patient load and identifying opportunities for improvements in our various facilities in Haiti. Medical equipment, medicine and educational materials have also been donated. DUFH has taught a Fundamentals of Critical Care (FCC) course to 13 Haitian social residents who are currently working in 3 different clinics in the country. DUFH has also trained community health workers on managing PTSD.

What is your projected impact over the next five years?

We are projecting to scale DUFH to a critical mass of 100 volunteers to Haiti every month to work with local Haitian healthcare professionals under DUFH’s integrated delivery team model. We expect to monitor performance measures of the teams in order to guarantee delivery of quality care and professional development. We also anticipate that we will have a sustainable number of Haitian diaspora families enrolled in the DUFH health plan where their beneficiaries in Haiti will be receiving primary and preventative services.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?

One barrier is guaranteeing care for patients located in areas where we lack providers and partners. This will be addressed by targeting Diaspora with families in locations with already established partnerships. Our current partnerships will enable us to extend to other areas. Another barrier is creating a successful marketing campaign to reach the Haitian diaspora. This will be addressed by emphasizing the value proposition of an opportunity to keep their families out of the hospital while simultaneously supporting the Haitian healthcare workforce. We will advertise in cities with large Haitian diaspora and will use different media outlets such as Haitian radio stations, newspapers and churches in order to recruit policyholders.

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

Evaluate the team model with electronic tools, and complete cost analysis and Health Plan parameters.

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Task 1

50 volunteer healthcare professionals will work with 25 local Haitian Physicians to further develop the integrated team model.

Task 2

Conduct a cost analysis and identify the scope of coverage for the health plan to underpin a marketing plan to Diaspora.

Task 3

An electronic database will track providers’ performance and coordinate patient care.

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

Establish a network of local Haitian healthcare providers who participate in DUFH’s health plan of delivering quality care.

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Task 1

Legal contracts with local Haitian providers that delineate roles of the integrated team and DUFH service/resource delivery

Task 2

Enabling technologies to provide local physicians with data tools at point of care and electronic collaboration tools.

Task 3

Transparency of DUFH services to the Haitian Diaspora that purchase a plan electronically (web) or manually.

Tell us about your partnerships

We partner with facilities in different areas of Haiti; Hospital St. Rapheal, Center Medico, ClinicA medical Center and Peredo Community Hospital. Each has a medical director who is responsible for academic activities and logistics for our volunteers. We also partner with Faculté des Sciences Infirmières de l’Université Episcopale d’Haïti in Léogâne, where their graduate nurses will expand knowledge through our task-shifting program. Moreover, we have partnered with the Diaspora Community Services in Brooklyn, New York who have helped identify families interested in the program.

Are you currently targeting other specific populations, locations, or markets for your innovation? If so, where and why?

We are targeting volunteer providers from academic medical centers in the United States who are interested in a global health experience. In addition, we are seeking out volunteers that are interested in a bilateral knowledge exchange experience. We believe this will provide DUFH with a strong volunteer corps with an academic focus, to not only enhance the credibility of the organization but also bring best practices to Haiti’s healthcare professionals. We will focus our recruitment strategies towards leading university and academic medical centers.

What type of operating environment and internal organizational factors make your innovation successful?

DUFH’s operating environment in collaboration with academic institutions will provide continuous access to resources that will help keep the organization and its volunteers current on medical, business and ICT. In addition, we will be able to access the human capital necessary to scale up DUFH’s operations. Moreover, the internal organizational factor in DUFH’s strategy to recruit board members from academic medical centers provides a volunteer corps, organizations that provide Information Technology support and those that bring access to the Haitian diaspora community ensures DUFH’s credibility and sustainability. In addition, we will continue our partnership with the Ministry of Health and assist other NGOs.

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list