Welcome to the Blog for the 2014 Mission to Ferrier and Pestel, Haiti. This year's mission is a joint effort from several different groups, including: Franciscan Health Care, Lourdes University College of Nursing, Mt. Carmel Hospital, SCORE, and of course many generous donors.


In 2009, Lourdes University College of Nursing faculty member Martha Gallagher set up a mission in Ferrier and Pestel, Haiti for Spring Break 2010 as the international service and clinical experience component of the NUR 450 course. These plans were abandoned following the earthquake in January, 2010, as conditions were then unsuitable for a student experience and any mission teams going would be focused on the disaster relief and recovery efforts for many months. The NUR 450 students went to Peru over Spring Break 2010 for a mission there instead. Below, see the history information provided by Dr. Richard Paat.


On Tuesday, January 12th, a 7.0Mw earthquake devastated Port-au-Prince. The Haitian government estimated that 230,000 people died and that 1,300,000 were made homeless. Most of the homes, commercial buildings, and health care facilities collapsed or were severely damaged.

The world responded with an outpouring of humanitarian aid. Locally, International Services of Hope (ISOH) and the Special Commission On Relief and Education (SCORE) mobilized a 23 member medical team that worked with Partners in Health at Double Harvest Hospital and in the tent cities. Our teams treated 1,600 medical patients and performed 100 surgeries in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake and its numerous aftershocks. We were struck by the faith and resiliency of the Haitian people despite the loss of nearly everything.

ISOH has continued its long standing relationship with Baptist Haiti Mission and sent pallets of food and medical equipment to Double Harvest. Pierre Pierrot, a Haitian medical student that worked with our team, received invaluable medical training in Toledo. In August 2010, Dr. Jean Claude Bernard, Chief of Staff of the Baptist Haiti Mission Hospital in Fermathe received an emergency cardiac stent procedure at St. Luke's Hospital in Maumee.

On the 1st anniversary of the earthquake disaster, a second medical team from ISOH/SCORE committed themselves to assist the ongoing medical needs of the Haitian people in Fermathe. We treated 1,300 patients in local schools and tent cities and performed 30 surgeries in the hospital. A third medical team travelled back to Fermathe in January 2012 and treated 1000 patients, trained 10 local health promoters, and distributed 100 water filters to provide clean water to the communities for 3 years.

After the earthquake, I assisted a young man from the Pestel region of Haiti receive a heart operation at St. Vincent's Medical Center in Toledo. He was sponsored by the Sylvania Franciscan Sisters from Lourdes University. That started talks that resulted in plans for the January 19 – 27, 2013, 4th annual medical mission to Haiti, this time, partnering with the Franciscan Sisters that have been working in Ferrier, Haiti since 2001.

Last year's mission was able to treat about 2,000 patients. In addition, we trained 16 health promoters from the local villages, and brought in 100 water filters that can provide clean water to a family for 3 years. On January 11th, we embark on our 5th annual medical mission, returning back to Ferrier, Haiti.

An article form Catholic Health World in March 24, 2012 provided the following information. Pestel is a coastal town on the southern peninsula of Haiti. The area is poor, even by Haitian standards. The local clinic has an RN, LPN and several other part-time staff. They are open one day a week and visit villages giving health care presentations the rest of the week.

Sr. Josephine (Jo) Dybza O.S.F and Sr. Fidelis Rubbo O.S.F. live in the mountain village of Ferrier. Their house has no indoor plumbing or electricity. They use an outhouse and kerosene lamps but do have a small solar panel and generator for charging phones and laptops for their limited internet access. They have to walk up the mountain to make international calls.

The Catholic school in Pestel has a lunch program provided by Catholic Relief Services. Ferrier was about 60 miles from the epicenter of the earthquake and their clinic only sustained a cracked wall.

The region suffers from the Cholera epidemic, lack of clean water, malnutrition, parasites, TB, malaria, and AIDS. The clinic has a program for malnourished infants and children, a midwife training program and a largely free program for pregnant mothers and newborns. The clinic trains village health care monitors. More urgent health problems go the hospitals in Port-au-Prince. They are sponsoring a second young woman through nursing school.

Dr. Ben Fredricks of Hershey Medical Center has established a deworming and Vitamin A program that reaches 12,000 children. He is working on funding to drill up to 20 wells in the area to assist during the drought season. The Sisters also develop Haitian leaders through a development group, Christians Progress Together (KPA) that has programs on health and economic development, miro-crediting, an agriculture program to help farmers grow vegetables and peanuts, and a sewing center.

A new two-story, eleven room guest house with electricity, plumbing and screens was recently completed last year, built by funding from Sylvania Franciscan Health. It can house 13 people, and that is where our multidisciplinary team will be staying. This year's team will have 21 volunteers, so some will be sleeping on mattresses on the floor.

Team Members

  1. Richard Paat, M.D. - Internal Medicine – 55th medical mission – Haiti, Tanzania, Guatemala, Honduras, Philippines, Indonesia, Biloxi MS.
  2. Stephen Braden, M.D. – Family Physician with the St. Joseph System in Bryan, TX, part of the Franciscan Healthcare system. Prior medical mission into Central and South America.
  3. Tom Gallagher, M.D. – Emergency Medicine – 28th medical mission - Peru.
  4. Martha Gallagher, PhD, RN – 38th mission - Peru, Haiti, Guatemala, Honduras, Biloxi. Associate professor of nursing, Lourdes University.
  5. Liz Nims, PhD, RN – Associate professor of nursing, Lourdes University.
  6. Tracy Ewing, RN – Lourdes University MSN student; Emergency room nurse.
  7. Jessica Mullin, PharmD. – Pharmacist – prior missions to Honduras, Haiti, Guatemala.
  8. Deon Regis, M.D. – Family Medicine, Assistant Program Director, Mt. Carmel, Columbus.
  9. Andrew Sitzman, M.D. – Family Medicine Chief Resident, Mt. Carmel, Columbus. Prior missions to Honduras and Haiti.
  10. Candace Nguyen, M.D. – Family Medicine intern, Mt. Carmel, Columbus.
  11. Avantika (Avi) Varma, M.D. – Family Medicine intern, Mt. Carmel, Columbus.
  12. Rachel Snyder, M.D. – Family Medicine intern, Mt. Carmel, Columbus. Prior mission to Honduras.
  13. Dennis Bensch - Civil engineer – Prior missions to the Philippines, Haiti, Honduras, Guatemala, Indonesia, Tanzania.
  14. Jeff Breymaier, DDS – Prior missions to Tanzania and the migrant worker camps.
  15. Pierre Pierrot, M.D. – Haitian physician who worked with us after the earthquake and who twice trained in Toledo; now the Medical Director at Double Harvest Hospital in Haiti.
  16. Kenaud Jeune, M.D. – Haitian physician who completed his internship in the Dominican Republic and trained in Toledo, this past fall. Kenaud was with our team last year.
  17. Ambroise Antenor, M.D. – Haitian physician who completed his internship in the DR, now working in Haiti. Antenor was also with our team last year.
  18. Matthew Pakulski – Auto mechanic, 2nd medical mission to Haiti.
  19. Quiana Pollock – 4th yr. medical student, University of Toledo College of Medicine
  20. Ruth Moise – Haitian, United Nations Office for Project Services.
  21. Guy – Haitian driver.