Sparrow, MSU provide medical relief, long-term aid to Haiti

Published: Sept. 9, 2010

LANSING, Mich. - Sparrow Hospital and Michigan State University are joining forces to provide medical relief and establish a long-term partnership in earthquake-torn Haiti.

A group of health care experts from the two institutions will depart for Haiti on March 3 to determine how they can best work together to provide aid to the devastated nation, where hundreds of thousands are dead or homeless after a powerful earthquake struck Jan. 12.

"By coordinating the efforts and resources of MSU and Sparrow, we believe we can better provide much-needed medical assistance to the people of Haiti," said Michael R. Clark, M.D., Sparrow's chief of the medical staff. Clark will be among the five-member advance team that will visit three hospitals - Albert Schweitzer Hospital, Sacre Coeur Hospital and Justinian Hospital - north of Port-au-Prince during their weeklong stay. Medical supplies will be donated to each hospital during the advance visit.

"The needs are great, and the situation changes on a daily basis," said Reza Nassiri, director of MSU's Institute of International Health and assistant dean in the College of Osteopathic Medicine. "Our needs-assessment trip will provide us with insights as to how we effectively can embark on a medical relief trip. The health and medical needs are staggering: basic wound care, emergency care, surgery, trauma therapy and mental health are just a few of the needs to be met."

As part of a sustained presence, Sparrow and MSU are hoping to set up a partnership where Haitian medical students could visit mid-Michigan and receive clinical training and medical education.

Since the earthquake struck, Sparrow and MSU both have been involved in meeting Haiti's needs. Sparrow has sent two shipments of medical supplies to Haiti, and in February, Sparrow physician Susan Caldwell, M.D., led a team to Haiti to provide medical relief. As part of its Help Haiti Heal initiative, MSU has hosted public events to foster discussion about relief efforts and raise awareness of the post-earthquake situation in Haiti. Groups such as the Caribbean Student Association also have raised funds to donate to the American Red Cross.

"Our hope is that the people of mid-Michigan will get behind the efforts of MSU and Sparrow and help us however they can," Dr. Clark said.

To make a donation to support Sparrow's efforts, call the Sparrow Foundation at 517.364.5680 - or send gifts to the Haiti Heal Project Fund, c/o Michigan State University, Office of University Advancement, 300 Spartan Way, East Lansing, MI 48824.