Training Haitian Rehab Clinicians

BUFFALO, NEW YORK—Erie County Medical Center (ECMC) Corporation today hosted two Haitian rehabilitation clinicians who have been undergoing intensive rehabilitation therapy training through D’Youville College since October 9, 2017.  The clinicians coordinated training sessions yesterday at School 84 on the ECMC Health Campus and today at ECMC’s Department of Rehabilitation Medicine.

Cedieu Fortilus, a Rehabilitation Technician manages a rehabilitation clinic in his native Haiti.  His patient case mix includes: pediatrics, people with orthopaedic and back problems, stroke, and amputations.  Wilfrid Macena was a welder in Haiti before being injured by the 2010 earthquake, after which he lost his right leg due to the injury and subsequent infection.  Macena has since been trained in prosthetics and orthotics in Haiti.  Both Haitian clinicians have been participating in intensive training in several areas.  D’Youville and ECMC Physical Therapy (PT) and Occupational Therapy (OT) faculty, alumni and current students offered educational sessions in: splinting, pediatrics, back care, body mechanics, and more.

The visit and training was coordinated through the Haiti Rehab Project (http://haitirehabproject.org/) founded by Ginger Oliver, PT, a physical therapist from the Utica, New York area, who was inspired to help the Haitians after the devastating 2010 earthquake.

ECMC Corporation President and CEO Thomas J. Quatroche Jr., PhD, said: “This is truly a noble humanitarian collaboration.  ECMC, D’Youville, and School 84 staff, as well as our Haitian visitors, are demonstrating their compassion for those Haitians impacted by the earthquake, as well as members of our community who require the rehabilitative and therapeutic expertise of these skilled clinicians and their American counterparts.  I congratulate and thank all involved for their efforts.”

D’Youville College President Dr. Lorrie Clemo said: “Any particular global crisis requires that we all help to the level of our abilities.  That’s what a mission based organization does” said Dr. Lorrie Clemo, president of D’Youville College.  “At D’Youville College we give our students the opportunity to be involved in real-world experiences, in addition to classroom learning, so they become problem solvers and compassionate leaders in the health professions. The ability to partner with ECMC and School 84 was essential in this case.”

D’Youville College Physical Therapy Department Chair Dr. Lynn Rivers said:  “All D’Youville college school of health profession faculty and students are committed to service.  It’s just part of what we are” said Dr. Lynn Rivers, chair of the D’Youville College Physical Therapy Department. “The exciting part of this particular trip for us is that we brought health professionals from Haiti to our campus. Students, faculty and many local clinical partners including ECMC and School 84 trained them and equipped them with technology and are returning them to their country better able to service their patients in the long term.  This is a sustainable solution.”

A full school day at School 84 enabled the Haitians to observe physical and occupational therapy, see adaptive equipment, power wheelchairs, augmentative communication devices, etc.  The instruction in ECMC’s Rehabilitation Department provided increased awareness in rehabilitation practices for patients who have brain injury, amputations, stroke, and other injuries/illnesses.  D’Youville’s Information Technology faculty and staff have been training the Haitian clinicians in computer technology on new laptops, which are being donated to them along with a projector and printers.  D’Youville College has also committed to on-going collaboration with the Haiti Rehab Project with the intent to provide telemedicine conferencing with the Haitian clinicians once they return to Haiti.

In addition to their clinical work and training, Fortilus and Macena formed the amputee soccer Team Zaryen, which plays in Haiti to increase awareness of the capabilities of people with disabilities.  Macena is the captain.  The Team Zaryen website includes photos of the team at: http://haitirehabproject.org/team-zaryen/ .  YouTube includes videos of the team in action at: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Team+Zaryen