Lunchtime Series: Reflections on Global Health: How Maine's Own Konbit Sante is Improving Health in Northern Haiti
Time & Location
About The Event
Interest in Global Health initiatives have dramatically increased in recent years, and global health programs in universities, medical schools, and nursing schools have become ubiquitous. Join us as Konbit Sante's Executive Director Nate Nickerson explores the evolution of global health efforts from the early days of “tropical medicine” to today’s understanding and how this understanding has been applied in Konbit Sante’s almost 20 years of work in Northern Haiti. This Maine-based group has developed an approach that focuses on strengthening the capacity of Haitian Health institutions and providers, rather than the more common approach of providing direct care or creating separate or parallel systems of care.
As always, this series is free and open to the public. Suggested donation for $10 for nonmembers. Please feel free to bring your lunch to eat during the presentation.
About the Speaker
Prior to his work in Haiti, Nate Nickerson worked for over 20 years in Boston and Portland, Maine as a nurse, nurse practitioner, and public health professional focusing on both the direct provision of healthcare, as well as the development of systems of care delivery for people who would otherwise did not have had access to care: people who were homeless, people dealing with mental illness and addictions, and people who lacked access to care due to poverty. His last position was as Director of Public Health for the city Portland.
In 2000, Nate joined the group that was to become Konbit Sante as a founding board member. Konbit Sante was seeking a different way of engagement that focused on supporting local health professionals to build a more effective and sustainable health system, rather than developing parallel systems of care, and chose to focus on the Greater Cap Haitien area. In 2005, while completing his doctoral degree in international public health, he left his position as Portland’s city public health director to become the first executive director of Konbit Sante, and has since helped it evolve to its current model of capacity building. Nate splits his time between Cap Haitien and Portland Maine
About Konbit Sante
Konbit Sante Cap-Haitien Health Partnership is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation founded in the state of Maine. Since 2001, they have supported the development of a sustainable health system that meets the needs of the community in and near Cap-Haitien, the second-largest city in Haiti and a sister city to Portland, Maine.
Partner institutions include the Justinian University Hospital, Hospital Fort St Michel, the Haitian Baptist Convention Hospital, and the health center Unité de Lutte pour la Santé (ULS). Konbit Sante works together with them on healthcare workforce and program development; adequate health infrastructure (water, electricity, and facilities); improving the supply chain for essential drugs, supplies, and equipment; management capacity; and assists with research and data that are driven by local needs. Konbit Sante also invests in high level communication and “face-time” between its staff and volunteers, and Haitian colleagues and leadership, to assure that all of its efforts are in response to real needs and are built on real partnerships consistent with the konbit. These relationships expanded in depth and scope in 2010, as Konbit Sante worked to assist these Haitian organizations to respond to the best of their capacity to the challenges of the earthquake and subsequent cholera epidemic.