Early Missionary Work
From 1982 – 1994, Dr. Catherine Wolf, MD, MPH worked as a physician at a 120-bed missionary hospital in Haiti. It was there she met and befriended Haitian nurse, Cherlie Severe. The two remained close friends over the years and often discussed their shared desire to help the people of Haiti through the practice of medicine and their faith in Jesus Christ.
Practicing Medicine Back in the U.S.
After returning to the U.S., Dr. Wolf worked as an Emergency and Internal Medicine Physician in the Milwaukee, WI area. However, returning to Haiti remained a priority.
The Founding of Friends for Health in Haiti
In 2006, Dr. Wolf founded Friends for Health in Haiti, a 501c3 non-profit organization based in Pewaukee, Wisconsin. The mission of Friends for Health in Haiti is to improve the health of the people of Haiti in a caring, compassionate manner, as a reflection of our Christian faith.
Dr. Catherine Wolf
Cherlie Severe, RN
Move to Haiti
In late 2006, Dr. Wolf and Cherlie moved permanently to Jérémie, Haiti and began their work to establish a primary care medical clinic.
Through Friends for Health in Haiti they raised funds and purchased land that would serve as the future clinic site in a small community in the mountains outside Jérémie called Gatineau.
Land purchased in 2006 for future clinic site.
Needs and Resource Assessment
In early 2007, Dr. Wolf and Cherlie began conducting a needs and resource assessment in the communities within a two-hour walk of the future clinic site. Over the course of three months, they walked into 16 communities, held interviews with community leaders and conducted large community meetings.
Dr. Wolf conducting an interview with a community elder in 2007.
Clinic Operations Begin
As a result of the medical needs they found in these communities, Dr. Wolf and Cherlie decided to begin doing patient consultations twice a week in a little tin-roofed house already existing on the clinic site they purchased.
In August 2007 Centre de Santé de Gatineau (Gatineau Health Center) was born! The long-term goal of the medical ministry of FHH is to develop a primary care clinic and maternity center in Gatineau, in order to help meet the health needs of people in one of the most underserved areas of Haiti.
The original clinic
While we continued seeing patients in the small tin-roofed clinic, we broke ground in 2012 on a new modern primary care medical clinic.
The project included a new main clinic building, a Pharmacy, Lab and Radiology building with second floor residence quarters, various road and bridge improvements, the drilling of a new fresh water well and cistern, and a utility building. The facilities are all fully solar powered and have UV purified well water.
Breaking ground on the clinic site in 2012.
The new storage & utility building.
New bridge and road improvements.
New Pharmacy, Lab and X-Ray building with second floor residence quarters.
New Clinic Opens - March 2014
Major construction was completed late in 2013 and all clinic operations were moved into the new facility early in 2014.
The new clinic became operational early in 2014.
Summary of Progress To Date
Since 2007, we have been making a real difference in the lives of ordinary Haitians:
We have conducted over 20,000 patient consultations.
We have completed the construction of our primary care medical clinic and we are now conducting all clinic activities there. We are nearing completion of the pharmacy, lab and x-ray building including the second floor residence quarters
We have become the primary care givers for the surrounding communities and have established a positive reputation for quality care.
We have established succesful ongoing community development programs including a Clean Water and Sanitation program in partnership with Johns Hopkins School of Nursing and Rotary Club.
We have established excellent relationships with local community and church leaders who help promote our services and programs, and support our public health initiatives.
Our patients regularly express a sense of owership, loyalty and family with our clinic and caregivers. Patients pay for their care. The fees are low, but Haitians place greater value on services for a fee and take pride in participating in their own health care.