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Design with a difference: healthcare in Haiti

Thursday, 2 June 2011

David Storto (Spaulding), Carole Wedge, and Jay Verspyck (Shepley) welcome Dr. Farmer

Shepley Bulfinch welcomed Partners In Health co-founder Dr. Paul Farmer (“Mountains Beyond Mountains”) to our Boston office today, where he spoke at the unveiling of plans for a new rehabilitation and training center in Haiti.

We partnered with colleagues from Boston’s healthcare and design communities to deliver this pro bono project, joining with Partners in Health, Partners Healthcare, Spaulding Rehabilitation Network, and the Mass Design Group to address the immediate and long-term demand for rehabilitation services in Haiti.

Carole Wedge welcomed 80 guests to this morning’s event. “We got as much as we gave in this process,” she said, pointing to the design response forged by a tight timetable, limited resources, and a challenging site, and the intensive and high-energy series of workshops where the center’s design took shape.

It’s not about a building. It’s about using collaborative healthcare design as a catalyst for social change, transforming the lives of individuals with disabilities who have been long stigmatized.

With up to ten percent of Haiti’s population now living with some form of disability following the 2010 earthquake in Port au Prince, the unmet demand for rehabilitation services is at crisis level. Currently Haiti has no schools or permanent programs for teaching rehabilitation skills. The project will include the establishment of a nine-month program to train paraprofessional rehabilitation technicians.

The two-story facility, which is planned to open in March 2012, will be located on the grounds of l’Hopital St. Nicolas, a 110-bed facility in St. Marc, a coastal town 50 miles north of Port-au-Prince.

Its impact will reach far beyond the hospital grounds and the city of St. Marc: as Haiti’s first universally accessible rehabilitation facility in the Ministry of Health system, it will establish new national standards for rehabilitative care and serve as a model for disability-centered design, construction, education, and services.

Design presentation, June 2, 2011 – Jay Verspyck

Partners in Health (PIH)

Partners HealthCare

Spaulding Rehabilitation Network

Mass Design Group


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