Friday, January 15, 2010

Dartmouth's Response to the Haiti Earthquake Disaster

As the world continues to learn the extent of the devastation in Haiti following this week's earthquake near Port-au-Prince, the Dartmouth community is mobilizing to provide financial and medical assistance. Here is a bulletin to the Dartmouth community from President Jim Yong Kim, sent yesterday evening:

To the Dartmouth Community:

Reports on the aftermath of the earthquake that struck Port-au-Prince this week reveal the devastating extent of the damage and loss of life. At Dartmouth, we share the grief of Haitians and are mobilizing to assist in the relief effort.

As you may know, over 20 years ago I co-founded Partners in Health (PIH), the nonprofit medical relief organization that operates in several countries. My colleagues on the ground tell me that earthquake victims are streaming into PIH clinics in Haiti, which are located in rural areas that sustained less damage. Author Tracy Kidder wrote in The New York Times today that, "As a result of this calamity, Partners in Health probably just became the largest health care provider still standing in all Haiti."

Many of you have asked how you can help. The urgent need is financial support. I encourage you to donate to organizations that you know will make immediate use of your dollars for earthquake relief. I especially encourage you to consider a donation to Partners In Health, . While there are a number of organizations involved in the response, I guarantee that your donation to PIH will go directly to relief efforts. If possible, we ask that you use your Dartmouth email address when making contributions to show our community's support for the Haitian people.

The greatest threat to Haiti now is a delayed response from people and organizations of goodwill. Dartmouth is in a unique position to help, due to our close relationship with PIH and our expertise in emergency planning. The New England Center for Emergency Preparedness, which operates out of Dartmouth Medical School and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC), has been working to improve emergency response in the Upper Valley since 1999.

Dr. John Butterly of DHMC is managing Dartmouth's efforts to send medical supplies and a team of physicians, nurses, and critical care personnel to work with PIH in Haiti as a first line of response. There are major transportation and logistical issues related to providing direct aid. While raising monetary aid is imperative, if you believe you have specific expertise, skills, or access to resources that would be helpful, please email

In addition, students across the institution are organizing to raise funds and awareness. I encourage students to attend an open meeting in Alumni Hall on Sunday, January 17, at 6:30 p.m., and to email with questions or ideas.
These are difficult financial times at Dartmouth, and we cannot lose our focus on the work ahead of us. However, moments like these are rare and challenge us to show our compassion for those who are facing unspeakable tragedy and desperation.

As John Sloan Dickey said, the world's troubles are our troubles and right now, Haiti's troubles are as horrific as anything I have witnessed. Let's show the world that Dartmouth will step up when people are truly in need.

Jim Yong Kim

No comments:

Post a Comment