A catastrophic earthquake in Haiti Tuesday (Jan. 12) sent tremors all the way to Boston, prompting rapid, broad-based medical and humanitarian assistance from Harvard University and its affiliates.Two faculty members from Harvard Medical School (HMS) are traveling today (Jan. 13) to Haiti, where they will join others already engaged in rescue operations, medical care, and relief efforts.En route is Joia Mukherjee, medical director of Harvard-affiliated Partners In Health (PIH), a not-for-profit aid group with community-based clinics in Haiti and eight other countries.Also on the way is David Walton, an internist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston who is associated with PIH and is an instructor in medicine at HMS. In 2008, he helped to set up a 54-bed hospital in La Colline in Haiti’s rugged Central Plateau.Mukherjee and Walton will help medical and aid efforts in the shattered Caribbean island nation. Once they report back, PIH will send the appropriate supplies and personnel to provide relief.Already laboring in Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital near the quake’s epicenter, is physician Louise Ivers, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, who used e-mail earlier today to broadcast an urgent plea for help. “Port-au-Prince is devastated,” her e-mail said, “lots of deaths. SOS, SOS. … Temporary field hospital … needs supplies, pain meds, bandages. Please help us.”Ivers is clinical director in Haiti for PIH, which opened its first clinic in rural Haiti in 1985 and has since opened eight others. PIH also has community-based medical operations in Peru, Russia, Lesotho, Malawi, Rwanda, Mexico, Guatemala, and the United States. The clinics are staffed by local medical personnel as well as by Harvard faculty and students.All faculty and students involved with PIH in Haiti are reported safe, said Jeffrey S. Flier, dean of the Faculty of Medicine at HMS.Meanwhile, the situation on the ground in Haiti is an “overwhelming tragedy,” he said. “We all share in the shock and grief over [Tuesday’s] devastating earthquake in Port-au-Prince. Our hearts go out to the millions who have been affected, both in Haiti and closer to home.”Flier also expressed concern that some members of the Harvard community “may be experiencing personal losses, and we want to offer them our compassion and to provide them with the support they may need.” Members of the Harvard community who would like counseling services or referrals are asked to call Harvard’s Employee Assistance Program at 877.327.4278 or to contact their Human Resources representatives.Other Havard-related relief efforts are also rolling out. The Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI), a University group of disaster-relief specialists, is working with nongovernmental organizations to assess immediate medical needs and other required assistance, according to spokesman Vincenzo Bollettino. HHI will offer regular updates on its Web site and on Twitter concerning Harvard’s relief partners and affiliated programs and hospitals, he said.Brigham and Women’s Hospital has dispatched an emergency response team, including HHI’s director of education, Hilarie Cranmer, who is a physician and clinical instructor. The team will work with United Nations and Dominican officials to address the immediate needs of displaced people.HHI fellow and physician Miriam Aschkenasy, a public health specialist at Oxfam America, is also working on Haitian relief. HHI is in touch with Alejandro Baez, a physician and former faculty member at Brigham and Women’s who now runs disaster services in the nearby Dominican Republic. They will assess the needs for further disaster response.PIH’s main hospital, L’Hôpital Bon Sauveur, is in Cange, about 20 rugged miles outside Port-au-Prince. It experienced a strong shock from Tuesday’s powerful quake, but no major damage or injuries.The hospital and its satellite clinics — already serving a flood of medical evacuees from the capital — are run by Zanmi Lasante, PIH’s sister organization, which means “Partners in Health” in Haitian Creole.The earthquake, measured at 7.0 on the Richter scale, was centered 10 miles southwest of Port-au-Prince and has affected one in every three Haitians, about 3 million people. Many thousands of Haitians are believed dead.“The earthquake has destroyed much of the already fragile and overburdened infrastructure in the most densely populated part of the country,” according to the PIH Web site. “A massive and immediate international response is needed to provide food, water, shelter, and medical supplies for tens of thousands of people.”Communications throughout Haiti were disrupted. In theory, Zanmi Lasante has Internet access and cell phone communication via satellite.HMS student Thierry Pauyo is working at Zanmi Lasante. But the Harvard School of Public Health does not have any students in Haiti on regular winter session travel courses, nor are there students registered who come from there. Harvard University does have a student from Haiti, said Sharon Ladd, director of the Harvard International Office. The student’s immediate family is reported safe.Zanmi Lasante means “Partners In Health” in Haitian Kreyol (Creole). Its main site — now a vital center of stability in a devastated land — is one of the largest nongovernmental health care providers in Haiti and the only provider of comprehensive primary care.It has a 104-bed hospital with two operating rooms, adult and pediatric inpatient wards, an infectious-disease center, an outpatient clinic, a women’s health clinic, ophthalmology and general medicine clinics, a laboratory, a pharmaceutical warehouse, a Red Cross blood bank, radiographic services, and a dozen schools.Zanmi Lasante employs about 90 community Haitian health workers and serves an estimated 500,000 people in the Central Plateau.
As The Harvard Campaign demonstrates its early impact across the campus and around the world, the University announced today that $5 billion has been raised in support of this effort.That figure represents more than 300,000 gifts and pledges made to the campaign through the end of last year.“From increasing financial aid to supporting cutting-edge research and creating a campus for the 21st century, we are already seeing that this campaign is having an impact,” said Tamara Elliott Rogers ’74, vice president for alumni affairs and development. “The incredible generosity of our alumni and friends will make a difference for generations to come.”Publicly launched in September 2013, The Harvard Campaign is the first such effort that includes all of Harvard’s Schools. The campaign seeks to shape the future of education with a focus on University aspirations, including advancing new approaches to teaching and learning, attracting and supporting the best students and faculty, creating a campus for the 21st century, and supporting multidisciplinary research.Beyond campus, the campaign has also brought together Harvard communities around the world. The “Your Harvard” series has traveled abroad to London and Mexico City, and visited New York, Los Angeles, and Dallas. Thousands of alumni and friends have joined President Drew Faust to hear her vision for the future of the University and learn about the fields that faculty are exploring.This year’s stops will include Seattle (Feb. 23), Beijing (March 15), and Chicago (May 6), with more to come as the campaign continues in the years ahead.
Keyes & Co principal Damien Keyes. Photo: Fiona Harding.THERE has never been a better time for first-home buyers to get into the market in Townsville with house prices bottoming out and interest rates at record lows.The median house price in Townsville is $340,000 as of the end of April, according to the latest Core Logic figures, 3.5 per cent lower than it was three months earlier.The Reserve Bank put the cash rate on hold at 1.5 per cent as of August 1. Buyers can find even more affordable houses in suburbs like Heatley where the median house price is $239,000, while Thuringowa Central, Garbutt, Wulguru, Condon, Vincent and Currajong all have median house prices under $270,000.REIQ Townsville zone chairman Damien Keyes said first home buyers were often put off by well-meaning but ill-informed advice to stay out of the property market.“Well-meaning friends and relatives who have purchased property will have advice for them but at some point you have to ignore three-quarters of that advice and just jump in,” he said. “Always start with the money and get yourself a good mortgage broker and build that relationship from day one. More from news01:21Buyer demand explodes in Townsville’s 2019 flood-affected suburbs12 Sep 202001:21‘Giant surge’ in new home sales lifts Townsville property market10 Sep 2020Find out what deposit you need, find out how much the loan repayments will be and once you have that nailed down then you can go shopping for a house.”First-home buyers in search of affordability should stay away from suburbs like Castle Hill, where the median house price is $862,5000. North Ward, Rangewood and Belgian Gardens also all have median house prices well over the Townsville average and above $450,000.Mr Keyes said first home buyers shouldn’t be too picky. Many got bogged down by trying to find their dream home.“Don’t let perfect get in the way of getting started,” he said.“A lot of first-home buyers if they can’t have the stone benchtops and the theatre room they won’t jump in. “Get out open homes and see what the prices are doing … just don’t sit on the fence.“Places like Vincent have highset, solid home with a pool for around $270,000.”