SALISBURY — Local nonprofit Hispanola Health Partners has been selected as a finalist in the third annual .ORG Impact Awards.
The nonprofit, which was established in 2013 by Salisbury resident Louise Lindenmeyr, serves around 10,000 patients a year in the southeast part of Haiti through its health clinic, which was opened in 2016.
“This clinic is owned and operated by Haitians,” said Lindenmeyr, who is a nurse practitioner. “It was built with their own resources. We’re very proud of that and we work in partnership with them. I may give them a few ideas ... but the whole philosophy is building from the ground up so that there’s sustainability and durability.”
The clinic, Lindenmeyr said, was so critical that the only alternative to similar treatment was a trek through the countryside.
“The only alternative was a 45-minute motorcycle ride uphill on the roughest road,” she said. “It’s like driving up a modified landslide. If you’re in labor or have an acute appendix ... there’s no emergency services there. Our clinic is on the ‘main road’ but the people we serve are tucked into the valleys of this rough, rural area. It’s a distant ride. We even have problems getting people to come into our clinic from far away when they’re in labor.”
The award that Hispanola Health Partners is nominated for is in a category called “Health and healing in a time of pandemic.” The .ORG Impact Awards honor mission-driven organizations and individuals.
Lindenmeyr is proud of the work the clinic provided during the pandemic.
“Fewer people were coming to the clinic, afraid they were maybe going to get it from health care workers,” she said. “That’s when we began this program to link up and do more community work house to house, and really link up more important services with skilled workers when we’re talking about maternal child health and really give them the best beginning you can.”
The nomination, she said, means a lot to the Haitian medical staff at the clinic.
“It’s really affirming that the work they are doing is being recognized on a national basis,” Lindenmeyr said. “The accountability that they are being asked for by me really has a purpose and has a greater goal at the end of being able to provide more services and expand.”
Currently, the nonprofit is working to train more birth attendants, who are people trained at assisting with the entire birthing process. It’s a blending of traditional medicine with traditional Haitian methods. So far, they’ve trained 18 birth attendants who attend nearly every birth in the area, according to Lindenmeyr.
“It’s still a charming and wonderful project in my mind,” Lindenmeyr said. “It’s so colorful. You’re mixing two very different worlds and showing respect from both sides. They appreciate seeing how to do neonatal resuccitiaton.”
Lindenmeyr said she has been continuously impressed by the staff, who are given ownership of the clinic.
“Our staff is very talented. They’re given the chance to shine,” Lindenmeyr said. “Their knowledge is amazing. Their ability to diagnose always blows me away because they don’t have the convenience of imaging that does it for them. Their physical assessment skills are stellar.”
The winners of the third annual .ORG Impact Awards will be announced on Nov. 9.