Online Program

Health needs assessment of a population of haitian migrant workers in the Dominican Republic: A call for collaboration between short-term volunteer teams?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Aaron S. Miller, MSc, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
Chang-Berm Kang, BS, School of Management, Yale University, New Haven, CT
Henry C. Lin, MD, Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Lawrence C. Loh, MD, MPH, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
Purpose: Indigent Haitian communities around La Romana, Dominican Republic, receive primary care from week-long volunteer teams made up of healthcare providers and trainees from abroad. Limited research has examined locally-identified, upstream needs which could be potentially addressed by such teams in collaboration; our needs assessment aims to address this.

Data used: Responses from semi-structured individual interviews conducted with local healthcare professionals and residents of bateyes (plantation villages) around La Romana.

Methods: Investigators visited five bateys as part of a mobile medical team. 30 residents were recruited and answered questions around demographics, living/working conditions, health, safety, and the visiting volunteer teams. 11 employees at a local partner hospital were similarly interviewed. Qualitative analyses conducted then identified commonly described themes that could be addressed through improved collaboration between short-term volunteer teams.

Results: Volunteer teams were viewed positively. Besides healthcare, residents identified various needs that could be addressed by volunteer contributions, including health promotion, education (e.g. language and computer training), and food distribution. Local clinicians identified professional development and education for local healthcare providers/community health workers, preventive care in mobile clinics (e.g. prenatal care), and specialty medical care (e.g. nephrology, cardiology.)

Implications: Locally-identified upstream needs in La Romana require investments that exceed the capacity of single week-long volunteer healthcare teams. Greater benefit may arise from collaborative efforts between increasingly multidisciplinary teams, to jointly address health through broader determinants (e.g. professional development/training of local providers, preventive care/health promotion, and community skills development.) Research, implementation, and evaluation of collaborative short-term volunteer models should be pursued.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Identify and discuss needs expressed by an indigent minority Haitians population in the Dominican Republic Outline potential needs expressed by an indigent overseas population that could be served by short-term educational global health volunteer trips Discuss potential systems-level solutions that could be addressed by volunteer teams to address the needs expressed by the studied batey population

Keyword(s): International Health, Vulnerable Populations

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a graduate health sciences student who designed the investigation and sought ethics approval, conducted the investigation, and carried out the thematic analysis.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.