A foundation with a long-term commitment to a country where nearly half the population lacks access to essential health services has awarded a Catholic college here with a history of mission service and an established nursing program a $750,000 grant to improve those services.
Elms College School of Nursing has received a $750,000 grant from the Michigan-based W.K. Kellogg Foundation to improve health outcomes in Haiti through nursing faculty development beginning this summer.
According to the United States Agency for International Development, there are as few as six health care professionals per 10,000 people in Haiti and health spending represents only six percent of all government expenditure with heavy reliance on international aid to improve access to health care.
An earthquake in 2010 killed more than 200,000 people in Haiti while displacing more than 1 million and caused extensive damage to the infrastructure and economy in the country, a former French colony in the Caribbean that includes the western third of the island of Hispaniola.
The country subsequently suffered its first cholera outbreak in a century and the Zika virus is a concern throughout the Caribbean.
“Because to many we in the U.S. represent the gold standard of nursing, I believe we have an obligation to share our expertise and contribute to global nursing and healthcare,” said Kathleen Scoble, dean of the college’s nursing school, in a prepared statement.
She added the college, whose president, Harry E. Dumay, is a native of Ouanaminthe, Haiti, is “honored to have the opportunity to make a difference through nurse faculty development, which we hope will become a program for replication.”
“After all, in my international nursing experiences, nursing and the human condition are universal despite language and geographical differences,” Scoble said.
“The Elms nursing faculty will gain as much or more than the Haitian nurse faculty they are teaching and mentoring as they learn this new culture and environment of practice.”
The grant will allow the Elms to train approximately 40 faculty from approved Haitian nursing schools as well as clinical educators from hospitals there to be skilled nurse educators.
Participants will complete a graduate certificate transferable to a master’s degree program in nursing.
The Elms, founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Springfield, has had a nursing program since the 1980s that has graduated more than 1,700 nurses.
It also has master’s degree program in nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program.
Students at the liberal arts college go on mission trips to Nicaragua, Honduras and Jamaica where Sister of St. Joseph Maureen Kervick has lived and worked since 2010.