March 2, 2010 5:45 AM
Describing the 32-second Haiti earthquake as the “longest moment of our lives,” Christine Duchatellier-Fowler and her husband, Paul Fowler, shared public health data and their personal stories of survival with a group of students and faculty members on Thursday (Feb. 25) at “Update: Haiti,” sponsored by the Tulane School of Social Work’s Institute for Psychosocial Health.
Duchatellier-Fowler lived in Port-au-Prince for three years working for the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine as a project administrator, and she recently returned there to do a needs assessment with a multidisciplinary team from Tulane.
Duchatellier-Fowler says the rainy season has already begun, although its official start is May 1. Drainage and solid waste disposal are big issues, but she stresses disaster response is under way with early Phase 2 recovery beginning. Phase 2 includes creating jobs, improving communications and providing improved health care for millions in tent cities and crude shelters.
“Everyone is doing something but there is no leader,” she says about aid organizations. “We need help. We want to rebuild for our children.”
With that focus in mind, Paul Fowler, a 2000 Tulane School of Social Work graduate, plans to start a program for Haiti’s children using the arts (dance, music, song) as a form of therapy to assist with trauma and loss.
“Before the earthquake, there was nothing for the children, and now there is less,” he says.
Dr. Catherine Alzuphar Nazaire, a Haitian physician, also spoke, bringing the enormity of the situation into focus.
“What can you tell people who have lost 16 members of their family? Social workers really have a lot of work to do,” she says.
The Institute for Psychosocial Health, in collaboration with the Fowlers and the Center for Global Health Equity in the Tulane Department of International Health and Development, will continue the “Update: Haiti” series to pursue specific psychosocial initiatives, according to Jane Parker, director of the Institute for Psychosocial Health.
Tulane University has a website detailing information about Haiti aid programs.
Joseph Halm is marketing/communications coordinator for the Tulane School of Social Work.
Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 firstname.lastname@example.org