HHI News & Updates: Fall 2017
Welcome to our new Executive Director, Edgar Castillo!

We are thrilled to welcome Edgar Castillo Lora as HHI's Executive Director! Edgar comes to HHI with extensive experience in organizational leadership, program and project management, and partnership development, focusing on health care, energy, education, and business development in the Dominican Republic. He is passionate about improving community health and empowering people to achieve their goals, and brings a commitment to listening, continuous learning, collaboration, and results that resonates with HHI's core values. Read the full announcement here, and join us in welcoming Edgar to HHI!
Primary Care in Action
From August 27 through September 2, our clinical staff, community health workers (CHWs),  and volunteer physicians came together for a full week of primary care clinics. In partnership with Hospital Maternidad Dolores de la Cruz in Montellano, our team consulted with patients enrolled in HHI's Chronic Care Program (CCP) and with patients identified by our CHWs as needing primary care attention. Working closely with each CCP patient's community health worker, our physicians evaluated  each patient's treatment plan to ensure their hypertension or diabetes was well managed,  and connected them to follow-up care as needed. The team also conducted home visits for patients who were unable to travel from the bateyes and countryside to the clinic. Thank you to our volunteers - Dr. Maura Conway, Dr. Crystal Marquez, nurse practitioner Edee Vassar, and Dr. Brad Wilkinson of HHI's Board of Directors - for giving so generously of your time and expertise.
Reflections from Dr. Crystal Marquez, HHI Volunteer Physician 
One experience that I will never forget was that of a 70-year-old gentleman who was recently hospitalized with a hip fracture. Unfortunately, he was not a good surgical candidate, and was sent home with a cast on his lower leg in order to apply some sort of traction. Initially, HHI's clinical coordinator, Dra Pou, went to care for the patient. When she saw him she was dismayed at his lack of traction. That night at dinner, she discussed this patient with myself and the two other HHI volunteer providers. It was determined that the patient needed more care, and that we would return to his home to figure out other options to treat his hip fracture.
The following day, we made a new apparatus involving pulleys, ropes, and water jugs for weight to provide rudimentary traction. Fortunately, this patient was grateful for the help, despite knowing that he was likely to lie in his bed for the next 4-6 weeks. Instinctively this medical treatment plan brought me back to my days in college, where I learned about pulleys and force; I never would have imagined putting it to use medically for a patient. 
Quinnipiac University Physician Assistant Spotlight

Since 2009, HHI has partnered with the Quinnipiac University Physician Assistant Program to connect the passion, skills, and global health interests of PA graduate students into HHI's clinical programs. Each year, a dedicated crew of first-year students spends their fall semester learning about the Dominican Republic and HHI's model, and raising funds to support follow-up care for the patients they will see - all while in the midst of their very intense course load! This year, we are excited to welcome Sara Boudreau, Nick Mulligan, Lindsay Palma, Stephanie Schmitt, and Alexandra Villalba, who will be traveling with HHI to the Dominican Republic in January. To learn more about the QU PA students' amazing work with HHI and to support their fundraising efforts, click here.
Sano y Feliz Group Facilitator Training

This month, we held our first
Sano y Feliz facilitator training, in preparation for launching new 
groups in our partner communities. Sano y Feliz is a group program that helps people who live with hypertension or diabetes to incorporate healthy eating, exercise, and medication management strategies into their  lifestyles. After piloting the groups and finding them to be both popular and effective, we are excited to expand! New facilitators are trained  as HHI community health workers, and play a special role in leading a support  group in their community, monitoring participant progress, and supporting each individual to achieve their health goals. Welcome to all our new Sano y Feliz   community health workers! 
Collaboration and Learning
  • HHI recently joined the Dominican Solidarity Network, a national platform for civil society organizations to collaborate, build campaigns, and create collective impact. Visit their website here, and check out the other organizations working in health, education, human rights, environment, political participation, and more!
  • Our management team attended a workshop on accountability and transparency for non-profit organizations in the Dominican Republic. The team - including Director of Programs Kary Colón, Administrative Coordinator Marinelly Gutierrez, World Diabetes Foundation Project Coordinator Sheila Calderón, and Sano y Feliz Project Coordination Isabel Bruno - learned about grant application processes, finance reporting, and outcomes reporting requirements, and made important connections with other civil society organizations.
Community Screening Day

Together with our partners at CEPROSH, the HHI team participated in a primary care consultation and screening day. We provided clinical support with checking height and weight, blood sugar, and blood pressure for all patients, and provided education about heart disease and diabetes risk.
CEPROSH is the Dominican Republic's   Center for Human  Solidarity and Promotion, and is a long-standing leader in HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, as well  as  advocacy for human rights and justice  in health care  access. Thank you to CEPROSH for inviting us to collaborate!
Hurricane Update

Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated communities across the Caribbean this fall, including in the nations of Dominica, Barbuda, the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, and many more. The north coast of the Dominican Republic was fortunate to be spared from the worst of the storms. Our staff, community health workers, and partner organizations work hard to be prepared for emergencies and natural disasters, and to support the most vulnerable in our partner communities. We recognize the suffering, loss, and heroic efforts of our neighbors across the Caribbean, and the scale of recovery that is necessary. We thank you for your concern and support for our region.
Our mission is to improve community health in the Dominican Republic. Through building local capacity for public health and strengthening the primary health care system, we work to promote well-being and access to quality health care.
Health Horizons International Foundation, Inc. |   www.hhidr.org