Our History

Friends for Health in Haiti, Inc. was founded in 2006 by Dr. Catherine Wolf, who, for over ten years had served as a missionary physician and Medical Director of a large mission hospital in south Haiti.

Dr. Wolf and longtime friend, Haitian-American nurse Cherlie Severe, felt God’s calling in 2006 to start this new medical ministry in a very needy mountain area outside the town of Jérémie, on the northern coast of the southern peninsula of Haiti. Some Haitian friends had picked out the clinic site in a community called Gatineau, an hour and a half drive into the mountains from Jérémie. Dr. Wolf and Cherlie came down from the US and visited several times before purchasing the land and moving permanently back to Haiti in 2006.

Original clinic site in Gatineau showing the creek running through the clinic site
Road going up into the mountains to Gatineau.

One of the first things they did in early 2007 was to conduct a need and resource assessment in 16 communities around the clinic site. This proved to be foundational to their entire ministry and led to the opening of an outpatient clinic in August 2007 in a little tin-roofed house already on the clinic site. Centre de Sante de Gatineau was born!

Dr. Wolf interviews a woman during the need and resource assessment 2007.
Community meeting led by Dr. Wolf and Cherlie.
Tin-roofed house in which Centre de Sante de Gatineau began.

The Original Clinic

Dr. Wolf and Cherlie established a medical record system with patient charts, a financial system with receipts and a pharmacy formulary based on the WHO Essential Drug List. They prepackaged the medications into small plastic bags and wrote instructions on them in Creole. They did patient vital signs, consultations, simple laboratory tests and minor procedures, providing care to patients of all ages with acute and chronic medical problems.

Both Cherlie and Dr. Wolf greeted the patients each day, informing them as to the clinic procedures and giving them education regarding various medical illnesses.

Cherlie greets patients and gives them advice on everything in life from relationships to medical beliefs and practices.
Each patient has his/her own permanent medical record, registering at the start of the clinic day.
Prepackaged medications in original clinic pharmacy.
Dr. Wolf consults a patient in her consultation room in the original clinic.
Simple laboratory tests were done as needed.
Minor procedures such as repair of lacerations and drainage of abscesses were done by Dr. Wolf.

New Clinic Construction Begins

In April 2011, construction was started on the clinic site and included construction of a bridge over a creek running through the site, a storage building, main clinic building, laboratory/pharmacy/radiology building and a second floor visitor residence quarters. In March 2014, clinic operations were moved to the-new permanent clinic building and patients were seen four days each week.

After construction of a bridge over the creek, a road up to the clinic was cleared.
Completion of bridge over the creek.
Storage depot with electrical system, water filtration and workshop.
Main clinic building with large front porch.
Laboratory/radiology/pharmacy building with second floor residence quarters completed.
Patients waiting on the front porch of the new clinic building 2015.

Impact of the Gatineau Health Center

Since opening its doors in 2007, Gatineau Health Center has served over 25,000 individual patients with close to 100,000 total patient visits. With the exception of Medical Director Dr. Catherine Wolf, all staff members are Haitian.

The medical ministry of Friends for Health in Haiti has four cornerstones: Curative Care through our outpatient clinic in Gatineau, Preventive Services through our Water and Sanitation community development program, Livelihood Support through a Goat Program and Agriculture Program and Spiritual Ministry through individual counseling in the clinic, disaster relief projects and partnerships with local churches.

Underlying Principles

This is the Public Health model of care which is concerned about populations, not just individuals. As such, we are strategic in all of the programs we develop to be sure that they’ll have a positive impact and will be sustainable.

Get In Touch

We're more than happy to answer any questions or provide information.

Make a Difference

Learn about the wide range of ways to support our organization. It's easier than you think!