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The Regis Haiti Visit Begins: June 1, 2010, Day One

June 2, 2010

Regis College seeks to rebuild human infrastructure in Haiti

Training nursing faculty key to new hospital service delivery

Weston, MA Mary Jane England, MD, Regis College President, and Antoinette Hays, Dean of the Regis School of Nursing, Science and Health Professions, are leading a team to Haiti to lay the groundwork for a program to train nursing school faculty.

In the early aftermath of the earthquake disaster, the overriding needs in Haiti were for water, food, shelter and medical supplies. Now both in-country and external efforts are turning to meet longer-term needs. In the area of health, a new hospital and nursing school are under construction. But new structures are not enough. The challenge is to have adequately trained nursing faculty to run those facilities.

Nurses in Haiti, including officials at the Ministry of Health, have specifically asked Regis College School of Nursing to help upgrade Haitian nurses’ education and bring them to a point where they, in turn, can train other faculty. So Dean Hays and President England have responded to the call and are in the process of trying to raise $500,000 in cash for the purpose, with Regis providing well in excess of that amount in in-kind services.

“It is not enough to rebuild the physical infrastructure, the bricks and mortar, of the Haitian health sector. The level of education there is below the baccalaureate level. We must rebuild the human infrastructure as well,” said Dean Hays. “That’s what the Regis Haiti Project is all about, and this trip to Haiti is taking the next step to make that happen.”

“Regis is intimately connected to Haiti through staff and students from the Haitian community of Boston as well as official affiliations with the Haitian Ministry of Health and the main nursing school in Port au Prince,” said Regis President England. “For more than two years, both by visits to Haiti and by bringing Haitian nurses to Regis to study clinical practice and operating room procedures, we have implemented a special Regis program for Haitian nurses based on the Regis Upward Mobility program.”

The Regis team hopes to develop a three- year partnership with the still operating Haitian-based Notre Dame University in Port au Prince to award a Master’s of Science degree. Toward that end, they plan on meeting with the papal nuncio for Haiti, Archbishop Bernardito Auza. They will also be meeting with representatives of the Haitian Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education, and with USAID, Catholic Relief Services, and the European Union. The Regis team will be working closely with Partners in Health and will travel to Cange, the site of PIH’s eminent founder, Dr. Paul Farmer.

In the aftermath of the earthquake, PIH Executive Director Ophelia Dahl underscored the need for a sustained long-term commitment, including partnering with the public sector, employing locally, and investing in Haiti’s long-term needs.

Speaking at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Farmer said, “What we need are teams and above all, systems to deliver services effectively.”

The Regis Haiti Project to “train the trainers” aims to bring Haitian nurse educators to the necessary level to be successful nursing faculty, who are able to train Haitian nurses for the present and the future. Regis has been involved in Haiti since visiting there in November 2007. In April, 2008, the Director of Nursing for the Haitian Ministry of Health, Maud Duvilaire (with the full support of the Haitian government) and the Dean of Nursing at University of Port au Prince, Yolande Nazaire, visited Regis. These visits resulted in a shared excitement about the collaborative opportunity to improve nurse education and nursing care in Haiti.

The Regis program has included some classes in Haiti, some on online and some during a summer residency at Regis. The collaborative program began the summer of 2008. Haitian nurses came to Regis for a six-week peri-operative (surgery-related) nursing education course, in collaboration with PIH, which provided coverage for translation and air fare, while Regis provided housing and waived tuition fees. The Haitian nurses were selected by PIH, which also helped link the students with Boston-area Haitian nurses. Haitian nurses based at Boston Medical Center collaborated with Regis faculty in both classroom teaching and clinical mentoring.

The original Regis Haiti Project has evolved into its Regis’ International Nurse Faculty Partnership Initiative to help rebuild the nursing workforce in Haiti. Funds raised will be used to bring Haitian nurse faculty from the country’s five public nursing schools to Regis College for an initial intensive program of study followed by online education and courses taught by Regis faculty in Haiti. In ongoing consultation with Haitian nurse faculty program graduates, Regis will continue training new trainers to expand high-quality faculty capacity. This ongoing consultation will be the basis for the assessment of the Haiti’s evolving needs, and nurse faculty’s preparedness to meet these needs.

For information about the Regis Haiti Project, or to donate to the long-term rebuilding of the Haitian nursing workforce, go to www.regiscollege.edu/about_regis/haiti_project.cfm call 781-768-7197, or e-mail advancement@regiscollege.edu.


Regis College is a Catholic co-educational community that prepares undergraduate, graduate and continuing education students for engagement and service in a changing world. In the School of Liberal Arts, Education and Social Sciences and the School of Nursing, Sciences and Health Professions, approximately 1,600 students are enrolled in 20 undergraduate majors; 10 interdisciplinary pathways toward professional success; and master’s degree programs in education, communication, health administration, health product regulation, nursing, public administration, and radiology, and a doctoral program in nursing practice. U.S. News and World Report ranks Regis in the top tier of universities with master’s programs in the North. The College is listed by the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) among benchmarking colleges for the quality of educational experience. With a strategic graduate focus on health care, Regis College was recently named a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education by the National League of Nursing. The College also provides accredited pre-school and kindergarten programs and a Life Long Learning Program (LLARC) for retired seniors. Visit Regis on the Web at www.regiscollege.edu.

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