West Tennessee Haiti Partnership

Amy Bonk-Chanin’s Experience

I jumped at the chance, no questions asked, to go to Haiti with this medical mission.  The subject somehow came up at a mutual Parent-Teacher night when Susan Nelson and I ran into each other.  We hadn’t seen each other since our girls were much younger but within moments, “hello again” turned into a short conversation about Haiti. And three months later we were a team fifteen strong.  On a wing and a prayer, we started our first day of clinic.  We did not know what to expect since this was the first time that adult patients were being seen, as well as the children. My role was medical, I was one of the two adult healthcare providers (I am a Physician Assistant- Internal Medicine-in Memphis).  

The typical day started around 8:15AM (in Haitian time that would be anywhere from 8:20 to 9:00).  We ended up having more than just a few adults who were seeking healthcare.  I expect next trip there will be more, once the word gets out that parents of the school children, as well as staff, have healthcare available to them when we visit. I speak enough Kreyol  (Haitian Creole) to get by but did have to use our ever-present translators (usually school staff) occasionally to get the clear picture on a patient’s complaint. My most common findings were Type 2 Diabetes, hypertension, remarkable anemias, and skin infections.
Amy Bonk-Chanin, Physician’s Assistant
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