Susan Dix Lyons


Susan Dix Lyons's picture
Name: Susan Dix Lyons
Organization: Clinica Verde
Title: Founder and CEO
Clínica Verde is a new model of care for families in need. I founded Clinica Verde in 2007 after visiting Nicaragua and seeing first-hand the dismal conditions of the local hospital in Boaco. Over the course of a year and a half, we arranged 2 shipments of medical equipment and supplies to the local hospital in Boaco but came to realize that this aid would make little difference in the long-term health of the patients served. With the support of the local community and national health professionals, Clínica Verde was founded to address this challenge beginning with a healthy and sustainably designed building and extending to include clinical care, health and nutrition education, and community support for its cherished patients, the very poor. I launched the organization in the States only after the former Minister of Health of Nicaragua, Margarita Gurdian, and the founder and director of the Violeta Chamorro Foundation, Cristiana Chamorro, agreed to partner with me in this vision. After nearly 6 years of commitment and dedication, along with focused fund-raising in the United States and abroad, Clinica Verde is no longer a dream, but a reality. We opened our doors in January of 2012 and are serving patients more than 1,000 patients per month with high-quality medical care, love and compassion. Patients are so grateful for the clinic, its beautiful environment, and the loving attention with which they're served that most donate to help sustain the clinic. A Comite de Amigos de Clinica Verde, based in the capital city of Managua, provides local support through the coordination of Nicaraguan volunteer doctors and professionals who can help us address our needs. It is a joy to see the pride and commitment of the local community and Nicaraguans who have come to adopt our vision and dedicate themselves to Clinica Verde's success. We are currently focusing on medical interventions in the areas of sexual reproductive health, nutrition and cervical cancer. This application asked a personal question about my desires and dreams. I want every young girl to feel safe, confident and hopeful of the life that lays before her. I want her to have the strength to say no, the assurance of her worth and potential, and the vision of a life filled with hope and purpose. I understand that these goals aren't "quantifiable." We have our number goals, and they are vital. But my big goal, the reason I started Clinica Verde, is achieved not just by meeting critical health outcomes. Outcomes only begin to tell the story. My goal will be realized when I see girls who were selling tortillas on the side of the road getting an education, believing in their strength and voice, and moving forward in their lives to help create change themselves. Clinica Verde will be that bridge to transformation. I started out in journalism, and have worked as a writer, editor and publisher. Some people see my work with Clinica Verde as a step in a new direction. I see it as a broadening of my interest in social justice, change, giving voice to the voiceless.

Challenge Entries

Clinica Verde is a new model of care – a sustainably designed health clinic for women and children living in poverty that takes a whole health approach to a patient’s wellbeing. Our vision is to offer Clinica Verde as a prototype showcasing the factors in physical design and integral health that promote patient- and family-centered care, improving dignity and health outcomes in a developing world environment.

Clínica Verde provides high-quality healthcare to poor women and children in Nicaragua in an environmentally sustainable, well-designed community environment.

Clinica Verde is building a new model of care for families in need. We were founded in April of 2007 with the urgent belief that we could – and should – rethink our approach to healthcare for the poor to include a more complete understanding of an individual’s wellness. Clínica Verde approaches health holistically, creating a clinic prototype that starts with environmentally sustainable design and clinical excellence and extends to the nutritional, educational, spiritual and economic health of an individual, her family, and community.