Vassar Haiti Project
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Health Initiative

The Vassar Haiti Project built, staffs and equips a medical clinic in Fiervil, a village at the base of the mountain where Chermaitre is located. Since 2014, the clinic has been providing professional medical attention to 30 different villages in the surrounding area.
VHP’s medical clinic provides much needed medical care to patients in an area who would otherwise have to travel long distances over mountains and uneven roads to receive basic medical care. Having access to a clinic in the area encourages more people to regularly be evaluated by a doctor, reducing the spread of preventable diseases.
Medical Access

The Vassar Haiti Project is committed to building, staffing, and supplying a medical clinic in Fiervil, a town located at the base of the mountain on which Chermaitre sits. VHP’s annual Art and Soul Gala provides funding to sustain the medical clinic, which has an annual budget of under $45,000. Since 2014, the clinic has made professional medical attention accessible to residents of Chermaitre and the surrounding villages for the first time. In 2017, our clinic has seen a substantial increase of patients coming from afar.  The clinic now serves an estimated 2,500 patients annually.




Through a series of art sales,beginning with a sale at Christ Episcopal Church in Sag Harbor, NY,  VHP raised sufficient funds to construct a three-room clinic, which was completed in 2013.  On VHP’s March 2012 Haiti trip, volunteers saw the site where the foundation of the clinic had been laid.  The clinic is accessible by road, and treats patients from 30 villages. The clinic includes two examination rooms, a pharmacy, a waiting area and a bathroom.


In 2014, VHP hired a Haitian doctor, Dr. Gueslin Joassainvil, to see patients during twice-monthly clinic days.  Dr. Joassainvil works with a midwife and two full-time Haitian nurses, who staff the clinic five days a week and provide health education at the school in Chermaitre.  Dr. Joassainvil leads the clinic staff, works to ensure that the clinic is fully staffed, and recieves regular shipments of medications and supplies.  The Health Initiative has several new and ongoing projects in place to continue to improve the medical care provided to the region surrounding the clinic. Providing residents of Chermaitre and surrounding villages with accessible medical care is a major priority of the Vassar Haiti Project.  Through a partnership with the Haitian government and/or a large NGO or foundation in Haiti, VHP is hoping to create a sustainable pathway for the medical center in Fiervil.


In 2017, the clinic treated over 1,400 patients, serving 30 different villages. Over 65% of patients were new.




Currently, the clinic does not have electricity. Thanks to a fundraising campaign spearheaded by Manning Wu (class of 2014), we purchased and distributed Luci Lights to various members of the Chermaitre community, including the clinic.



In 2015, the Health Initiative received a generous donation of $65,000 of medical supplies from the Henry Schein Global Donation Program. On July 10th 2017, with the help of Food for the Poor, VHP shipped a 20’ container from Vassar College to Haiti packed with the medical supplies, which included two new hospital beds and a C-PAP machine. These medical supplies will not only be distributed to VHP’s clinic in Fiervil, but also to the clinic in L’acul, the Alma Mater Hospital in Gros Morne and the teachers in Chermaitre.

Our Medical Advisory Board

VHP staffs and supplies the clinic, under the auspices of a Medical Advisory Board, a group of health professionals seeking to provide guidance in all aspects of clinic operation in Fiervil, Haiti. The Board consists of members from the Poughkeepsie and larger Hudson Valley community including doctors, nurses, and other specialists in the healthcare field. Some of the areas in which the Medical Advisory Board serves the Fiervil clinic are medication management, infrastructure development and improvement, health education, fundraising, and much more. Vassar Haiti Project truly appreciates the invaluable time and effort the members put into improving the lives of patients so far from Poughkeepsie.

Current Projects & Goals

Medical Clinic Expansion

Due to the tremendous distance and cost associated with going to the hospital closest to Fiervil, most clinic patients do not get critical exams and operations done. The clinic staff has urged VHP to help them expand medical care accessible through the clinic to include an onsite laboratory. VHP is now actively seeking to fund the construction of a solar powered laboratory with diagnostic equipment in which the staff will be able to conduct prescribed exams.


Solar Panel Laboratory

Without electricity, and thus refrigeration, the clinic staff is unable to offer a vaccination program. Vaccinations would reduce cases of malaria, typhoid, measles, rubella and cholera - some of the most common diseases in the region. Constructing a solar powered laboratory would enable VHP to install a refrigerator appropriate for the storage of vaccines in the lab to begin a vaccination program for children.


Learn about our other initiatives: