Media & Publications

HEAL VIDEOS

2015-2017 Fellows

HEAL Fellows Tamara Augustine and Kelvin Chan

HEAL Fellows Jimena Maza and Colleen Keough

HEAL Fellows Isha Nirola and Jonathan Powell

HEAL Fellows Annie Huang and Kami Groten

HEAL Co-Founders Drs. Sriram Shamasunder and Phuoc Le

MEDIA STORIES

August 2017

HEAL Co-founder Sriram Shamasunder was interviewed by the the team from Bending the Arc about HEAL’s screening of this film during our Mid-Fellowship Retreat in Navajo Nation. Read more here! 

Screen Shot 2017-08-24 at 12.25.14 PM

August 8, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 3.36.47 PM.png

HEAL Fellow Anna Landau quoted in an article from Local Voices Liberia on the amazing work of Last Mile Health in Liberia. Read more here! 

July 13, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-07-16 at 9.57.37 AM.png

HEAL co-founder Phuoc Le published an article titled “What Are the Ethical Issues Facing Global-Health Trainees Overseas?” The article discusses four groups of ethical dilemmas faced by healthcare workers at the University of California, San Francisco while working overseas in low-resource settings.  Download Dr. Le’s article here.

May 17, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 1.23.38 PM

HEAL Fellow Robin Goldman featured on the UCSF Division of Hospital Medicine web page! Read more about Robin’s journey and inspiration for serving in the global health space! 

“There is a real emphasis and understanding that there is so much interaction between social factors and health, and social justice and health. Many people are sick because they are poor. We don’t see this perspective everywhere in Medicine, so it has been rewarding to work with people who understand this.”

May 11, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 8.33.04 AM

HEAL Fellow Isha Nirola, who works as the Director of Community Health at Possible in Nepal, was recently featured in the Atlantic! Check out the full article here! 

“The more I engaged in this kind of work the more I realized that I actually identified more as a global citizen,” she says, “and a global citizen who also wanted to come back to her ancestral home.”

March 30, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 5.40.08 PM.png

HEAL Program Director Joseph Scarpelli presented on HEAL at the Macy Regional Conference on Innovations in Graduate Medical Education. Check out the full article here!

“Taking this idea a step further, initiatives such as Health Equity Action and Leadership (HEAL) are tapping the ‘unmet passion’ of medical students and residents to pursue global health projects ‘serving the poorest of the poor,’ said Joseph Scarpelli, MPH.”

February 24, 2016

Injustice and Health

If you did not get an opportunity to attend “Injustice and Health,” you can read about it here! You can also watch the full teach-in on the website. Phuoc Le, MD, MPH, an assistant clinical professor of Medicine and Pediatrics at UCSF, believes medical training should encourage health practitioners to take the time to fully understand the narrative of their patients to enable them to provide the best care possible.

February 6, 2016

Dr. Sriram Shamasunder gave a powerful TEDx Berkeley talk, and you can see it here! After watching it, you will be pondering on the question “whose suffering matters less and why?” Congrats, Dr. Shamasunder and thanks for your hard work in advancing global health, both in the HEAL Initiative and beyond!

February 1, 2016

HEAL is very excited to share that Dr. Phuoc Le will be the keynote speaker for the 2016 Mason Model World Health Organization Conference on April 9th! The theme is Refugee Health. Congratulations, Dr. Le! Thank you for your advocacy in global health!

refugee health

January 24, 2016

Our co-founder, Dr. Phuoc Le, will serve on a panel for an upcoming event titled “Injustice and Health,” moderated by CNN Correspondent Soledad O’Brien. This is a FREE event, but registration is required. Check out the website for more information! Congratulations Dr. Le on being selected as a panelist! We appreciate all that you do for HEAL.

Le_Injustice and Health Flyer

December 15, 2015

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 1.48.53 PM

HEAL’s Co-Founder Dr. Sriram Shamasunder, will be a speaker in the 2016 TedxBerkeley event! He will be sharing insights about his global health work as it relates to his personal experiences. Use Promo Code: SriramShamasunder20 to get 20% off tickets! Congratulations, Dr. Shamasunder! And thank you for your hard work in helping raise awareness of global health equity!

December 10, 2015

HEAL and Co-Founder Dr. Phuoc Le featured in the “When Disaster Strikes” section of UCSF Magazine

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 5.52.35 PM

.

November 26, 2015

The HEAL Initiative Fall 2015 newsletter is available for download below!

HEAL Newsletter Fall 2015

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 12.46.29 PM

March 20, 2015

The HEAL Initiative Spring 2015 newsletter is available for download below!

HEAL Update Spring 2015

SpringUpdate2015

SpringUpdate2015

July 14, 2015

The HEAL Initiative inaugural fellowship cohort (Dr. Jimena Masa from Chiapas, Mexico and Dr. Michael Tutt from Fort Defiance, Arizona) interviewed by KCBS radio.

kcbs_740

May 10, 2015

The HEAL Initiative is featured in UCSF Frontiers of Medicine Spring 2015 issue!

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 8.17.51 PM

April 3, 2015

Hospitalist Training Helps Phuoc Le, MD, MPH, Fight Global Health Inequality

March 29, 2015

HEAL Spring 2015 Update

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 8.23.48 PM

February 19, 2015

UCSF and the Ebola Response:“The response to Ebola is clearly going to be a many years-long process, maybe even a decades-long process.”

HEAL fellow Ami Waters and Co-Founder Phuoc Le share their recent experiences working in Liberia. 

December 1, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 12.49.28 PM

Click here for full story

November 18, 2014
Comfort & empathy are often tactile. Dr. Phuoc Le writes about providing “no touch” care in Liberia and what it means for the doctor-patient relationship.
 
Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 10.06.06 AM

Click here for full article

November 13, 2014
The African Advocacy Network invited Sri to talk on 91.7 FM, and he gives some great insight into the chronic problems underlying the current Ebola crisis and explains the work HEAL is doing to address such issues. Great clip. Sri is on starting at 70 minutes. 
 
Listen here: Africa mix 11/13
 
 
ABC News publishes a story they did on a premature infant Phuoc took care of at UCSF- before going to Liberia. 
 
Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 2.56.42 PM
Click here for full story
November 6, 2014
Phuoc’s last State-side interview as he heads off to Liberia today
 
Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 10.28.41 AM
 

Click here for full video & article.

November 3, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-11-04 at 4.29.08 PM Click here for full article.

November 1, 2014
HEAL Co-Founder featured on NBC Nightly News on his upcoming trip to Liberia.
 
nbc2

Click here for the full video.

October 30, 2014
NPR interview with Dr. Phuoc Le.
 
Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 4.54.05 PM
Click here to listen.
 
Article from the San Francisco Chronicle.
 
Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 12.02.51 PM Click here for the full article.
 
October 29, 2014
A call to action written by HEAL Co-Founders Phuoc and Sri gets published in the Huffington Post:
 
Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 2.14.49 PM

Click here for the full article.

 
 
Article on Dr. Le’s upcoming trip to Liberia, this time by the SF Examiner.

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 4.36.18 PM

Click here for the full article

October 27, 2014
Dr. Le returns to CNN! 

October 25, 2014
Dr. Phuoc Le, who will be traveling to Liberia to help out with the Ebola relief efforts, is interviewed on CNN about the treatment of healthcare workers upon their return from West Africa.

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 12.11.56 PM

October 23, 2014
The HEAL Initiative’s mission in one minute.

http://youtu.be/6FrMGeVZero

October 22, 2014
Current fellow Dr. Ami Waters featured in The Sun, a local newspaper from her home town in Williamson County, Texas!

Ami Sun Article

October 22, 2014
Dr. Sriram Shamasunder shares the following piece where he reflects on his ongoing commitment to health for all in rural Haiti.

Screenshot 2014-10-22 12.00.31

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. –Ben Franklin

Poem from Haiti

–by Sriram Shamasunder, Oct 22, 2014

Nobody should die from diseases we know how to treat. Currently in all areas of the world over 50,000 people die daily from diseases we can treat. One component of getting good care in very poor places is to have the human capacity and training to deliver good care.

Two UCSF Physicians have started a project called the HEAL initiative(www.healinitiative.org) that aims to address health workforce in resource poor communities. HEAL initiative works at sites domestically and internationally, from Navajo Nation in New Mexico to Liberia and Haiti and India to both improve the quality of care, support and train local health professionals.

The work that is about health care but is also beyond health care. It is about solidarity and justice. A simple home visit can shape the way anyone thinks about health. Last week, HEAL initiative founders accompanied some skilled community health workers at Zanmi Lasante in Haiti on home visits.

Zanmi Lasante, the sister health organization of Partners in Health in Haiti have been making patient home visits for decades. Patient home visits are deeply embedded in the philosophy of finding the most vulnerable patients and getting health care to them instead of waiting passively for sick people to come to the hospital.

This past week, we trekked up the mountain to reach a patient’s house in rural Haiti. The community health workers sit with patients and discuss what ails them on many levels.

The travel can be arduous. The rivers become so swollen in the rainy season they are impassable. The stony mountains jab at our heels as we make our way up the hill. The heat blazes to leave soaked skin.

But it is this journey on foot that so much is revealed: the distance for a patient to the nearest hospital, and the fortitude required to walk that journey. What it might be like to cross a river barefoot with a two year old on your hip. When someone can’t pay for medicines or health care, what other costs may be suffocating their budget?

On arrival to the house, the family structure is revealed, how many people are staying under one roof, what material makes up that roof, straw or tin or concrete? Does the patient own his/her own land? Are there crops rising up from the soil or is the land barren?

On one home visit we came across this grandmother inspired this poem. There was a simultaneous feeling that her needs are deep, and suffering immense. But also a hope.

Towards Flooding Homes with Dignity

In the mountains of Haiti looking out over the central plateau
the hills roll along like massive unripen green mangos scattered across as far as I can see

light falls at an angle
creates a color
I have never seen

an urgent rain scatters as fast as it came
ushers in it’s place a sweet scent that I cannot name

the old woman in front of me
in rural Haiti
her daughter has left to Port au Prince to find work
leaving several young children behind

this grandmother cajoles the
emaciated land to cough up fruit and nuts that might feed three hungry bellies
a desperation easy to feel as
sticky midday Haitian heat against skin

her loneliness as obvious as any aching swollen joints
and probably pangs her more

why would I not spend the rest of my days
her wrinkled hand clasped in mine?
what solidarity other than this could be more important?
what task more important could beg me away?

what edifice could pretend to promise more purpose
for a longing human heart?

today I wish I was a tin roof
long and lean
without slits or holes
I would spread out over this small house

so rain does not fall through
like an unwelcome drunken guest
a wet collapse across the mud floor

but between the stuttering rain
if we listen

an army of skilled Haitian health workers gathers strength in the distance
nurses, accompanateurs, doctors, mental health workers

in every corner of the land
they gather
like a prayer as precious as health
like a clandestine blessing

in time
the Haitian health worker peace army
will spread out like a cool breeze
throughout the landscape

they will walk over the massive unripe mango like hills
to arrive
at the precipice of this old woman’s house

to offer the clasp of a hand
and some fruit

cover her small plot of land
with the solidarity of the right to health

scatter seeds across soil that grow into
food to fill bellies

flood her home with
dignity

flood her home
with love

flood her home
with something other
than rain

In addition to a community heath model, Zanmi Lasante is training a generation of physicians and nurses in a new tertiary facility. There is a new generation of surgeons, and family medicine doctors, and advanced care nurses, and internists going through advanced training in large numbers for the fist time. This the Haiti health professional peace army that will lead for years to come. What makes this tertiary hospital important is that it is embedded in a community health model with accompanateurs as the cornerstone.

The community health model of Zanmi Lasante is a simple solidarity of sitting and listening in a patient’s home, of seeking out the most vulnerable and sitting with them side by side. As we walk to their houses, we tie some of the most vulnerable into community clinics as well as a high quality tertiary facility with skilled Haitian health professionals. To witness this solidarity and movement towards health as a human right is to witness something precious becoming conferred as a right. It is changing the landscape in Haiti as slowly but as surely as the rain or the earthquake. The HEAL initiative aims to train a generation both domestically and internationally that might become skilled at flooding homes with dignity


Author: Sriram Shamasunder, MD (previously featured on DailyGood: “A Doctor-Poet’s Birthday in Burundi“) Department of Medicine, Division of Hospital Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, e-mail: sshamasund (at) medicine.ucsf.edu . Open Access:  This  article is distributed  under the  terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

October 21st, 2014
CTV Sri

Dr. Sri Shamasunder, co-founder of Heal Initiative, speaks on the goal to raise money to help strengthen access to care and quality of care in countries like Liberia.

October 17th, 2014
HEAL Initiative Co-Founder, Dr. Phuoc Le speaking to a Univision reporter in Spanish about the current need for adequate training and support health professionals joining the Ebola response movement.

HEAL Initiative Co-Founder, Dr. Phuoc Le speaking to a Univision reporter on the current need for adequate training and support of health professionals joining the Ebola response movement.

Visit Univision for the full story. 
October 15th, 2014
CNN News Video Image

HEAL Initiative Co-Founder, Dr. Phuoc Le on the left with reporter Nick Valencia at CDC in Atlanta, Georgia. Here, Dr. Le is undergoing rigorous training before he heads to Grand Gedeh County, Liberia to work with NGO Last Mile Health in an effort to build infrastructure within the community health worker program.

Visit CNN for the full story. 
October 8th, 2014
Sri Ebola training

HEAL Co-founder, Dr. Sriram Shamasunder during his time at CDC training for Ebola response. Volunteers such as Dr. Shamasunder heading to Liberia must be trained to remove protective gear without touching the skin.

Visit NPR for the full story. 

HEAL VIDEOS

2015-2017 Fellows

HEAL Fellows Tamara Augustine and Kelvin Chan

HEAL Fellows Jimena Maza and Colleen Keough

HEAL Fellows Isha Nirola and Jonathan Powell

HEAL Fellows Annie Huang and Kami Groten

HEAL Co-Founders Drs. Sriram Shamasunder and Phuoc Le

MEDIA STORIES

August 2017

HEAL Co-founder Sriram Shamasunder was interviewed by the the team from Bending the Arc about HEAL’s screening of this film during our Mid-Fellowship Retreat in Navajo Nation.

Screen Shot 2017-08-24 at 12.25.14 PM

 Read more here! 
August 8, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 3.36.47 PM.png

HEAL Fellow Anna Landau quoted in an article from Local Voices Liberia on the amazing work of Last Mile Health in Liberia. Read more here! 

July 13, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-07-16 at 9.57.37 AM.png

HEAL co-founder Phuoc Le published an article titled “What Are the Ethical Issues Facing Global-Health Trainees Overseas?” The article discusses four groups of ethical dilemmas faced by healthcare workers at the University of California, San Francisco while working overseas in low-resource settings.  Download Dr. Le’s article here.

May 17, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 1.23.38 PM

HEAL Fellow Robin Goldman featured on the UCSF Division of Hospital Medicine web page! Read more about Robin’s journey and inspiration for serving in the global health space! 

“There is a real emphasis and understanding that there is so much interaction between social factors and health, and social justice and health. Many people are sick because they are poor. We don’t see this perspective everywhere in Medicine, so it has been rewarding to work with people who understand this.”

May 11, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 8.33.04 AM

HEAL Fellow Isha Nirola, who works as the Director of Community Health at Possible in Nepal, was recently featured in the Atlantic! Check out the full article here! 

“The more I engaged in this kind of work the more I realized that I actually identified more as a global citizen,” she says, “and a global citizen who also wanted to come back to her ancestral home.”

March 30, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 5.40.08 PM.png

HEAL Program Director Joseph Scarpelli presented on HEAL at the Macy Regional Conference on Innovations in Graduate Medical Education. Check out the full article here!

“Taking this idea a step further, initiatives such as Health Equity Action and Leadership (HEAL) are tapping the ‘unmet passion’ of medical students and residents to pursue global health projects ‘serving the poorest of the poor,’ said Joseph Scarpelli, MPH.”

February 24, 2016

Injustice and Health

If you did not get an opportunity to attend “Injustice and Health,” you can read about it here! You can also watch the full teach-in on the website. Phuoc Le, MD, MPH, an assistant clinical professor of Medicine and Pediatrics at UCSF, believes medical training should encourage health practitioners to take the time to fully understand the narrative of their patients to enable them to provide the best care possible.

February 6, 2016

Dr. Sriram Shamasunder gave a powerful TEDx Berkeley talk, and you can see it here! After watching it, you will be pondering on the question “whose suffering matters less and why?” Congrats, Dr. Shamasunder and thanks for your hard work in advancing global health, both in the HEAL Initiative and beyond!

February 1, 2016

HEAL is very excited to share that Dr. Phuoc Le will be the keynote speaker for the 2016 Mason Model World Health Organization Conference on April 9th! The theme is Refugee Health. Congratulations, Dr. Le! Thank you for your advocacy in global health!

refugee health

January 24, 2016

Our co-founder, Dr. Phuoc Le, will serve on a panel for an upcoming event titled “Injustice and Health,” moderated by CNN Correspondent Soledad O’Brien. This is a FREE event, but registration is required. Check out the website for more information! Congratulations Dr. Le on being selected as a panelist! We appreciate all that you do for HEAL.

Le_Injustice and Health Flyer

December 15, 2015

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 1.48.53 PM

HEAL’s Co-Founder Dr. Sriram Shamasunder, will be a speaker in the 2016 TedxBerkeley event! He will be sharing insights about his global health work as it relates to his personal experiences. Use Promo Code: SriramShamasunder20 to get 20% off tickets! Congratulations, Dr. Shamasunder! And thank you for your hard work in helping raise awareness of global health equity!

December 10, 2015

HEAL and Co-Founder Dr. Phuoc Le featured in the “When Disaster Strikes” section of UCSF Magazine

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 5.52.35 PM

.

November 26, 2015

The HEAL Initiative Fall 2015 newsletter is available for download below!

HEAL Newsletter Fall 2015

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 12.46.29 PM

March 20, 2015

The HEAL Initiative Spring 2015 newsletter is available for download below!

HEAL Update Spring 2015

SpringUpdate2015

SpringUpdate2015

July 14, 2015

The HEAL Initiative inaugural fellowship cohort (Dr. Jimena Masa from Chiapas, Mexico and Dr. Michael Tutt from Fort Defiance, Arizona) interviewed by KCBS radio.

kcbs_740

May 10, 2015

The HEAL Initiative is featured in UCSF Frontiers of Medicine Spring 2015 issue!

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 8.17.51 PM

April 3, 2015

Hospitalist Training Helps Phuoc Le, MD, MPH, Fight Global Health Inequality

March 29, 2015

HEAL Spring 2015 Update

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 8.23.48 PM

February 19, 2015

UCSF and the Ebola Response:“The response to Ebola is clearly going to be a many years-long process, maybe even a decades-long process.”

HEAL fellow Ami Waters and Co-Founder Phuoc Le share their recent experiences working in Liberia. 

December 1, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 12.49.28 PM

Click here for full story

November 18, 2014
Comfort & empathy are often tactile. Dr. Phuoc Le writes about providing “no touch” care in Liberia and what it means for the doctor-patient relationship.
 
Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 10.06.06 AM

Click here for full article

November 13, 2014
The African Advocacy Network invited Sri to talk on 91.7 FM, and he gives some great insight into the chronic problems underlying the current Ebola crisis and explains the work HEAL is doing to address such issues. Great clip. Sri is on starting at 70 minutes. 
 
Listen here: Africa mix 11/13
 
 
ABC News publishes a story they did on a premature infant Phuoc took care of at UCSF- before going to Liberia. 
 
Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 2.56.42 PM
Click here for full story
November 6, 2014
Phuoc’s last State-side interview as he heads off to Liberia today
 
Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 10.28.41 AM
 

Click here for full video & article.

November 3, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-11-04 at 4.29.08 PM Click here for full article.

November 1, 2014
HEAL Co-Founder featured on NBC Nightly News on his upcoming trip to Liberia.
 
nbc2

Click here for the full video.

October 30, 2014
NPR interview with Dr. Phuoc Le.
 
Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 4.54.05 PM
Click here to listen.
 
Article from the San Francisco Chronicle.
 
Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 12.02.51 PM Click here for the full article.
 
October 29, 2014
A call to action written by HEAL Co-Founders Phuoc and Sri gets published in the Huffington Post:
 
Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 2.14.49 PM

Click here for the full article.

 
 
Article on Dr. Le’s upcoming trip to Liberia, this time by the SF Examiner.

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 4.36.18 PM

Click here for the full article

October 27, 2014
Dr. Le returns to CNN! 

October 25, 2014
Dr. Phuoc Le, who will be traveling to Liberia to help out with the Ebola relief efforts, is interviewed on CNN about the treatment of healthcare workers upon their return from West Africa.

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 12.11.56 PM

October 23, 2014
The HEAL Initiative’s mission in one minute.

http://youtu.be/6FrMGeVZero

October 22, 2014
Current fellow Dr. Ami Waters featured in The Sun, a local newspaper from her home town in Williamson County, Texas!

Ami Sun Article

October 22, 2014
Dr. Sriram Shamasunder shares the following piece where he reflects on his ongoing commitment to health for all in rural Haiti.

Screenshot 2014-10-22 12.00.31

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. –Ben Franklin

Poem from Haiti

–by Sriram Shamasunder, Oct 22, 2014

Nobody should die from diseases we know how to treat. Currently in all areas of the world over 50,000 people die daily from diseases we can treat. One component of getting good care in very poor places is to have the human capacity and training to deliver good care.

Two UCSF Physicians have started a project called the HEAL initiative(www.healinitiative.org) that aims to address health workforce in resource poor communities. HEAL initiative works at sites domestically and internationally, from Navajo Nation in New Mexico to Liberia and Haiti and India to both improve the quality of care, support and train local health professionals.

The work that is about health care but is also beyond health care. It is about solidarity and justice. A simple home visit can shape the way anyone thinks about health. Last week, HEAL initiative founders accompanied some skilled community health workers at Zanmi Lasante in Haiti on home visits.

Zanmi Lasante, the sister health organization of Partners in Health in Haiti have been making patient home visits for decades. Patient home visits are deeply embedded in the philosophy of finding the most vulnerable patients and getting health care to them instead of waiting passively for sick people to come to the hospital.

This past week, we trekked up the mountain to reach a patient’s house in rural Haiti. The community health workers sit with patients and discuss what ails them on many levels.

The travel can be arduous. The rivers become so swollen in the rainy season they are impassable. The stony mountains jab at our heels as we make our way up the hill. The heat blazes to leave soaked skin.

But it is this journey on foot that so much is revealed: the distance for a patient to the nearest hospital, and the fortitude required to walk that journey. What it might be like to cross a river barefoot with a two year old on your hip. When someone can’t pay for medicines or health care, what other costs may be suffocating their budget?

On arrival to the house, the family structure is revealed, how many people are staying under one roof, what material makes up that roof, straw or tin or concrete? Does the patient own his/her own land? Are there crops rising up from the soil or is the land barren?

On one home visit we came across this grandmother inspired this poem. There was a simultaneous feeling that her needs are deep, and suffering immense. But also a hope.

Towards Flooding Homes with Dignity

In the mountains of Haiti looking out over the central plateau
the hills roll along like massive unripen green mangos scattered across as far as I can see

light falls at an angle
creates a color
I have never seen

an urgent rain scatters as fast as it came
ushers in it’s place a sweet scent that I cannot name

the old woman in front of me
in rural Haiti
her daughter has left to Port au Prince to find work
leaving several young children behind

this grandmother cajoles the
emaciated land to cough up fruit and nuts that might feed three hungry bellies
a desperation easy to feel as
sticky midday Haitian heat against skin

her loneliness as obvious as any aching swollen joints
and probably pangs her more

why would I not spend the rest of my days
her wrinkled hand clasped in mine?
what solidarity other than this could be more important?
what task more important could beg me away?

what edifice could pretend to promise more purpose
for a longing human heart?

today I wish I was a tin roof
long and lean
without slits or holes
I would spread out over this small house

so rain does not fall through
like an unwelcome drunken guest
a wet collapse across the mud floor

but between the stuttering rain
if we listen

an army of skilled Haitian health workers gathers strength in the distance
nurses, accompanateurs, doctors, mental health workers

in every corner of the land
they gather
like a prayer as precious as health
like a clandestine blessing

in time
the Haitian health worker peace army
will spread out like a cool breeze
throughout the landscape

they will walk over the massive unripe mango like hills
to arrive
at the precipice of this old woman’s house

to offer the clasp of a hand
and some fruit

cover her small plot of land
with the solidarity of the right to health

scatter seeds across soil that grow into
food to fill bellies

flood her home with
dignity

flood her home
with love

flood her home
with something other
than rain

In addition to a community heath model, Zanmi Lasante is training a generation of physicians and nurses in a new tertiary facility. There is a new generation of surgeons, and family medicine doctors, and advanced care nurses, and internists going through advanced training in large numbers for the fist time. This the Haiti health professional peace army that will lead for years to come. What makes this tertiary hospital important is that it is embedded in a community health model with accompanateurs as the cornerstone.

The community health model of Zanmi Lasante is a simple solidarity of sitting and listening in a patient’s home, of seeking out the most vulnerable and sitting with them side by side. As we walk to their houses, we tie some of the most vulnerable into community clinics as well as a high quality tertiary facility with skilled Haitian health professionals. To witness this solidarity and movement towards health as a human right is to witness something precious becoming conferred as a right. It is changing the landscape in Haiti as slowly but as surely as the rain or the earthquake. The HEAL initiative aims to train a generation both domestically and internationally that might become skilled at flooding homes with dignity


Author: Sriram Shamasunder, MD (previously featured on DailyGood: “A Doctor-Poet’s Birthday in Burundi“) Department of Medicine, Division of Hospital Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, e-mail: sshamasund (at) medicine.ucsf.edu . Open Access:  This  article is distributed  under the  terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

October 21st, 2014
CTV Sri

Dr. Sri Shamasunder, co-founder of Heal Initiative, speaks on the goal to raise money to help strengthen access to care and quality of care in countries like Liberia.

October 17th, 2014
HEAL Initiative Co-Founder, Dr. Phuoc Le speaking to a Univision reporter in Spanish about the current need for adequate training and support health professionals joining the Ebola response movement.

HEAL Initiative Co-Founder, Dr. Phuoc Le speaking to a Univision reporter on the current need for adequate training and support of health professionals joining the Ebola response movement.

Visit Univision for the full story. 
October 15th, 2014
CNN News Video Image

HEAL Initiative Co-Founder, Dr. Phuoc Le on the left with reporter Nick Valencia at CDC in Atlanta, Georgia. Here, Dr. Le is undergoing rigorous training before he heads to Grand Gedeh County, Liberia to work with NGO Last Mile Health in an effort to build infrastructure within the community health worker program.

Visit CNN for the full story. 
October 8th, 2014
Sri Ebola training

HEAL Co-founder, Dr. Sriram Shamasunder during his time at CDC training for Ebola response. Volunteers such as Dr. Shamasunder heading to Liberia must be trained to remove protective gear without touching the skin.

Visit NPR for the full story. 
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