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the story of Cap Haitien Dental Institute (CHDI)

von carlos , 16.01.2011 17:49

I am a dentist from Ohio in the USA. Ten years ago,
with the help of my friend Ken Maslinski, we began our
work of providing better oral health care to the residents
of Cap Haitien, Haiti. During these years, and with
many volunteers, we have successfully founded the
Cap Haitien Dental Institute (CHDI) in the central city
hospital campus of the Hospital Universitae Justinien.
Due to the devastating earthquake that occurred on the
island January 12, collapsing thousands of buildings
and killing tens of thousands residents in the city of
Port-au-Prince, planned to install new dental treatment
center equipment in February which has been delayed.
The city of Cap Haitien, 260 kilometers north of
Port-au-Prince, was not directly affected by this 7.0
magnitude earthquake and the 20 member dentists of
the North Dental Association are safe, and for this we
are very thankful.
We are so saddened and shocked by the earthquake’s
devastation in Haiti. This catastrophic event will
impact the country for a long time. Haiti is a small
country and very communal. Even though Cap Haitien
was spared destruction, many of our friends have
relatives in Port-au-Prince, so the impact will be direct
and since Cap Haitien is the second largest city in Haiti
it is expected that many refugees will come north to
this city.
My personal reaction to this is two-fold, part of me
cannot comprehend what has happened. But secondly,
as a member of the CHDI I need to remember our
mission and how important our work will now become.
The needs have always been great. Now they will be
more than ever. I am so thankful that the CHDI is
well established and is positioned to be a valuable
contributor in the task of helping the residents of Haiti.
Message from the President Cont’d from page 1
After Haiti disappeared from the media again, one
could believe that life is going back to normal. This
is not true at all. There is no way of talking about
normality just now, Haiti is far from that.
Numerous medical teams from all over the world can
report on their work in Haiti. Though the worst times
after the desaster are over, times when surgery was
performed day and night and countless limbs had to
be amputated, now is the time of follow-up treatments
and psychological help, which is just as important as
emergency care.
Many impressions pushed aside in the first weeks are
coming to the surface now – it will take a long time
until the emotional wounds have healed.
Slowly, one can try to rebuild a dental care system.
Several colleagues did not let the devastating
circumstances keep them from travelling to Haiti on
their own initiative to help on the spot. Above all,
doctors from countries like the USA and France, which
traditionally have close relationships with Haiti. But
also from Israel, Spain and Germany, there are more
contacts to this country than one might believe as a
In early March, on the occasion of the world’s biggest
News from Haiti Cont’d from page 2
Our institute members are very grateful to see that so
many people are concerned and do care about Haiti.
We have been contacted from professionals all over the
country, including the American Dental Association.
We anticipate that the CHDI will play a key role in
coordinating a sustained effort. Once the immediate
and short-term relief efforts are completed the chronic
situation present before the earthquake will remain
and the CHDI will need to be present and prepared.
In March we traveled with a team of 15 volunteers to
continue the direct care and expand the World Health
Organization program. Despite this great human
tragedy our commitment to Cap Haitien and her people
is stronger than ever.
The institute members want to thank everyone for
caring and please continue to pray for the people
of Haiti. We invite you to visit our web site, www.
chdentalinstitute.org to learn more about the program
or how to contribute.
~Ihor N. Suszko, DDS, MAGD, FADI


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