by David Walmer

“Is there a new way to express how we are pursuing FHM’s vision in a way that gives us a clear focus that is easy to understand?”

FHM’s vision in Haiti is ‘healthy families and healthy communities’, specifically in the areas in and around Leogane and Tom Gato. Our mission is to ‘support Haitian communities in THEIR efforts to build and sustain healthy families’. Given that Tom Gato is where our health center is located, it would be reasonable to consider FHM’s sphere of engagement to span from Leogane to Jacmel.

There is an interesting term that might be one way to express on of our goals. That term is ‘Center of Excellence’. Excellence sounds like an admirable goal so I wanted to explore what a Center of Excellence is or might be as it relates to our work? There are existing definitions and we also have an opportunity to define it as it relates to our unique situation. We work in Haiti. We work in a rural setting. etc.

Why might this term be relevant to FHM?

FHM supports and staffs a health care CENTER that started with a focus on women’s health, is expanding to include more children’s health and might ultimately encompass family health (back to the name FHM) as we expand our attention on hypertension. The center was named for a beloved friend and pioneer who provided healthcare to the Fondwa community, Sister Carmelle Voltaire. … and why wouldn’t our goal for the care that this center provides be EXCELLENCE? The term excellence implies striving to be the best that we can be. Carmelle exemplified excellence and inspired many of us as a Catholic sister and a nurse who always went the extra mile to love and care for the individuals who came to her for care.

How might ‘we’ define excellence as it relates to the Carmelle Voltaire Center? The definition of a term like this might vary depending on perspective. So, whose perspective might we want to consider?
Considerations include…
…the individual patients that the center serves
…the staff that serves in the center
…the community that the center serves
…the organizations that participate in the activities at the center
…the organizations that set standards for the services that we provide

We know who the patients are so they should be easy to garner an opinion from.
We know who our staff is so again, their opinion should be low hanging fruit for harvesting.
We know the community that we serve but there are many untapped relationships that we can always explore to expand our horizons there.
We know the organizations that directly participate in the activities at the center and we can explore a perspective of organizations that might indirectly be influenced by the activities at the center.
We have a relationship with some of the organizations that set standards of care (MSPP, etc.) and have a great opportunity to explore their perspective on the services that we provide.
If we garner all of these perspectives, we can then begin to define what the Carmelle Voltaire Women’s Health Center would look like if it was a Center of Excellence.

I would love to see the Carmelle Voltaire Center become set a standard that other’s use to define a Center of Excellence for health care delivery in rural Haiti.