How Our Humanitarian Mission in Haiti started
ORSI was founded in response to the catastrophic 7.0 magnitude earthquake which devastated the island nation of Haiti on January 12, 2010. This thirty-second event, killed over 250,000 people, left well over 1,000,000 homeless, and critically injured hundreds of thousands more. The massive human toll was further compounded by the simultaneous decimation of critical infrastructure necessary for an effective emergency and medical response.
The extreme scope of devastation following this event quickly placed Haiti’s health care scarcities in the global spotlight. The most glaring discrepancy between need and capability emerged in the field of orthopedic surgery. With only a few dozen orthopedic surgeons in all of Haiti, orthopedic services before the earthquake were challenged at best. After the earthquake, their capabilities became virtually non-existent. This loss would have been crippling enough under normal circumstances, but in the wake of a natural disaster with the majority of casualties being orthopedic in nature, the repercussions proved to be cataclysmic.
This desperate need for orthopedic support is what prompted ORSI’s founder Ron Israelski to launch his original crisis response mission in Haiti. As an accomplished orthopedic surgeon and prominent player in institutional surgical education, Ron quickly surmised that a superficial relief effort would be far from an adequate solution. Unless the underlying issues and systemic inadequacies could be rectified, Haiti would remain a vulnerable and dependent nation. This acknowledgment of deep-rooted dysfunction in our global health system has served as the direct inspiration for ORSI’s primary objective which is to provide the clinical, infrastructural, and educational support necessary to build sustainable surgical programs in the most underprovided areas of the globe.
Curiosities About Haiti and It’s Culture
Creole was created as a secret language so the French wouldn’t understand the slaves.
Second nation to gain independence from European rule.
Masses robbed of economic viability by series of dictatorships and regimes.
Early agricultural/industrial stability and leading agricultural exporter.
First island nation to break bonds of colonial rule.