The devastating earthquake in Haiti killed thousands in 2010 and led to an outpouring of support from people around the world.
Though the country’s struggles may not dominate the news as it did six years ago, its needs haven’t gone away.
The Mount Kisco-based Hands Up for Haiti has dedicated itself to helping the nation and its work were recently recognized. The organization was presented with the Henry Schein Cares Medal for its humanitarian efforts, a $15,000 donation and $10,000 in medical supplies. The Henry Schein Cares Foundation, Inc., created eight years ago and headquartered in Melville, L.I., promotes and supports healthcare workers around the world, in part by providing products and services.
The foundation recognized Hands Up for Haiti for its commitment to making a sustainable and positive impact on the health of the Haitian people by helping the nation’s medical community through training and delivering direct care and educational programming.
Since its creation, Hands Up for Haiti has sent 51 medical teams to the country with another six missions scheduled through this June. The missions support and educate Haitian healthcare workers while treating an average of 600 patients, most of them children, during each one-week mission.
“We bring medical teams which run clinics and outreach medical clinics and lead medical education for staff and for the communities in which we work,” said Dr. Jill Ratner, the organization’s founder and past president and a CareMount Medical pediatrician. “We partner with other organizations and hospitals on the ground to maximize our results. We run malnutrition programs for children and support prenatal programs. We fund several clinics in Haiti that are staffed by Haitian professionals.”
Ratner said she was thrilled for the organization to receive the award.
“When I first went to Haiti after the earthquake in 2010 with a group of doctors, nurses and other volunteers, mostly from the Mount Kisco area and surrounding communities, I could not have imagined how much our organization would grow and how much we could accomplish,” Ratner said. “I feel very proud of the hard work done by everyone involved.”
Hands Up for Haiti President Dr. Mary Ann LoFrumento, a pediatrician who practices in New Jersey, said the organization has come a long way in its five years.
“This recognition from a foundation known internationally is very meaningful to us and the financial support is vital to everything that we do,” LoFrumento said.
Mount Kisco resident Karen Schecter, director of programs and operations for the organization, said she has been impressed by the accomplishments of Hands Up for Haiti. She said the focus is on teaching and collaboration with their Haitian counterparts.
“Our ultimate goal is to put ourselves out of business,” Schecter said.
For more information about Hands Up for Haiti, visit www.handsupforhaiti.org.