A rising leader in the emerging field of global neurosurgery, Dr. Barthélemy’s principal career focus is on the development of neurosurgical capacity in Haiti. Dr. Barthélemy is Vice President of the Fondation Haïtienne pour le Développement de la Neurologie et de la Neurochirurgie (FHADNNEC), Haiti’s professional society for the advancement of clinical neurosciences.
As a member of the Vassar Haiti Project’s board of directors, he brings passion for Haitian history and culture, interest in the development of VHP’s educational and medical initiatives, and an overarching commitment to social transformation in Haiti.
Dr. Ernest J. Barthélemy is a neurosurgery resident at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City and a Paul Farmer Global Surgery Fellow at Harvard Medical School in Boston. A lifelong New Yorker born and raised in the “Little Haiti” district of Brooklyn, NY, Dr. Barthélemy is the son of immigrants from the southern Haitian city of Grand-Goâve. He completed his undergraduate studies at New York University and a graduate degree at Columbia University’s Teachers College before obtaining his medical degree at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, where he graduated with distinctions in research, education, community service and clinical excellence. Dr. Barthélemy is also a student at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
"The Vassar Haiti Project has been a huge part of my life and that of my family since almost the beginning of the project when it was a bunch of friends and a few students looking for a way to make a difference in the lives of this remote village in Haiti through art and handcraft sales. Journeys to “Ayiti” with the project have provided me the opportunity to witness the beauty and inspiration of the land that has been illustrated so vividly and uniquely by each of our artists, as well as to see first hand just how the project has made a difference in the lives of the people in our village. In the last few years in particular, I have also come to realize that it is not just the future of Chermaitre and of Haiti but also of the students at Vassar and of the community at large which is being so positively impacted by this project. Watching our students develop strong leadership skills, as they conceive of initiatives, plan their implementation and become incredible human beings and citizens of the world, ready to tackle 21st century problems with confidence and grace, has been a real privilege. I am so grateful to be part of a project that continues to grow and expand and attract an incredibly capable cadre of students and community members who will push the project to new levels of outreach and action!"
"I am thrilled to be participating as both a Board Member and volunteer with Vassar Haiti Project. I am an Owner and Partner in a small consulting firm and have been a Management Consultant for over 35 years. My career has focused on Leadership Development and Building Culture in both the profit and not for profit sectors. It has been especially rewarding to be able to contribute my skills and experience to the student volunteers and leaders for VHP. Though I am deeply committed to and proud of the work that VHP has accomplished in Chermaitre and surrounding communities in Haiti it is working with and partnering with the students that brings me the most joy.
"My current focus is building this Board especially in the arena of fundraising. We have a great Board of people committed to the sustainability and expansion of this incredibly valuable organization. I think we are all united in our stand that what Lila and Andrew have built and nurtured is an amazing model for development In Haiti and developing global leaders and deserves support to grow and flourish. "
Growing up in Youngstown, Ohio with a doctor father and artist mother, the appreciation of art and medicine was part of his family culture. With this background, Dan was immediately attracted to VHP when he met Lila at an art sale in 2011.
“After my initial introduction to Lila and Andrew, I was asked to serve on the VHP medical advisory board, and helped in the early stages of the creation of the Fierville-Chermaitre medical clinic. Subsequently, I had the honor of travelling twice to Haiti to work alongside VHP’s Haitian partners at the clinic, helping care for the people of Chermaitre and its surrounding villages. It is through this lens, an inspirational yet gut-wrenching perspective, that I was forever connected to the beauty and overwhelming need of this remarkable, glorious, and majestic land and people, so palpably portrayed in the art. Once smitten, the glow is part of your soul and the drive to help in any way possible is relentless.”
As a board member, Dan hopes to guide more medical initiatives, including working to bring solar power to help modernize our medical clinic. He acts as an ambassador for VHP by introducing new friends and colleagues to VHP’s mission and by filling the walls of his home with Haitian art for all to enjoy. Dan is looking forward to working with the VHP students and other board members alongside our partners in Haiti, to help our Haitian villages gain the modernization and skills needed to sustain and improve their lives in the years to come.
Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer
"Participating with the Vassar Haiti Project is in so many ways a dream come true.
“Living and attending school in Haiti in the 1970’s gave me the opportunity to get to know the land, the people, and their glorious art. Despite the poverty, the political turmoil, the environmental devastation, and lack for years of any kind of governmental infrastructure, the dignity and spirit of the Haitian people remains powerfully strong, vibrant and free. It is this vibrant spirit which translates so colorfully and creatively into art, which is one of that country’s few remaining viable exports.
“I consider it a privilege to be engaged in this work. One of the greatest thrills has been the great and growing numbers of people, including dozens of Vassar students, faculty, staff, and administrators, and folks from the Hudson Valley and beyond, who have requested the opportunity to participate either as a member or a partner of this project.”
Andrew Meade is the Director of International Services at Vassar College.
Co-Founder & Executive Director
“In 2001, Andrew had a ‘little idea’ of supporting a school in Haiti which he took to the Dean of the College, Colton Johnson. This seed has blossomed into the Vassar Haiti Project today.
"By buying the artwork from Haiti and supporting the livelihood of artists, the project has blossomed into a family and partnership with students and community members. Vassar students have reached out way beyond the walls of the college (and themselves!) towards making a ‘concrete’ difference in Haiti. And then, they take what they learn and put it to use in the world when they graduate. What a joy and privilege it is to work with students of such passion, integrity and insight. They keep pushing the project (and me!) towards new levels!
"What was planted years ago has now become a virtual forest! I have grown to love Haiti through its incredible art, culture and spirit. This project has taught me much about what is truly rich in life. I dedicate my work in this project to my mother, Lily, who spent her early childhood in Haiti and who taught me how to love, respect and care for others.”
David grew up in New York City and moved to the mid-Hudson Valley in 1997. He joined the Vassar Haiti Project as a volunteer in its’ first year, 2001. David organizes the annual VHP auction, helps out at the various sales, and enjoys working with the students.
"From its inception, I've had enormous respect for this project, it's truly a virtuous circle. By buying Haitian art, we create a source of income for Haitian artists. The profits go back to Haiti to support our various local initiatives, the Vassar and Poughkeepsie communities become engaged, and the Vassar students learn to run the whole thing, gaining empathy, competence and confidence along the way. The project is big enough to make a difference and small enough to create a real community."
David has made his career in business, finance and investing. Other interests include local history, historic preservation and ecosystem and habitat sustainability. In addition to VHP, David currently serves on the Boards of the Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie and the Hudson chapter of Mensa International. He is also very handsome.