Dr. Dirk Parvus – Haiti Clinic
Dr. Dirk Parvus—a Cenegenics Institute physician in Vero Beach, Florida—formed the Haiti Clinic Inc. in 2007 along with others to provide ongoing medical care to Cite Soleil, a dangerous, greatly impoverished area of Port-au-Prince without sewage system, water or electricity. In fact, thousands of Haitians are getting regular medical care now because of his work and that of his family.
“Those who join us develop what I call an ‘attitude of gratitude.’ We’re giving these populations the basics of proactive medicine—from vaccinations, nutrition and a woman’s clinic to bringing in a proper water supply—so they don’t die of highly preventable disease,” Parvus said.
Why did he start the Haiti Clinic? According to Dr. Parvus . . .
“My best friend of 20 years, John Engle, had been working in Haiti since the early 1990s, starting a number of initiatives and not-for-profit projects. I supported him through his projects. In 2007, when I went down to visit him, I was introduced to his Haitian contact, Koulou—who had limited training and schooling, and was the primary caregiver to countless destitute residents of Cite Soleil. Cite Soleil was the slum of the city and too dangerous for foreigners, which is why this area has not been tended to.
In June 2007, my family and I, along with several others, partnered with Koulou’s organization, the Boston Youth Association (named for the “Boston” district of Cite Soleil, not the city in Massachussettes), to run a clinic. After we returned, I realized this community needed a more permanent project—Haiti Clinic was born.
When I founded the Haiti Clinic, I realized that the desire to help was all around us and if we set up something that made it feasible for our colleagues and friends to take 3 days out of their lives to head down there, we would have a never-ending source of manpower and expertise.”
Currently, over $1 million worth of medications have been donated to the clinic. In partnership with a local Haitian organization, the clinic is staffed every day by a physician and two nurses. Approximately once per month, Dr. Parvus organizes a clinic trip of American volunteers to go to Haiti for the weekend, including specialists. These clinic trips are huge events with the doctors seeing upwards of 1,000 people in just two days.
A big hole yet—interested in helping? They still need a big sponsor for the women and children’s center. Vaccination programs for kids, testing for all the diseases— tuberculosis, malaria—all of which are treatable. And they need the funding for labs so they can test for all the above. To see a patient and administer medications, it costs approximately $12 per patient. Their volunteers cover all costs for the trip down there. Any contributions go directly to the charity.