Global Health

Helping to Transform Health Care in the Poorest Regions of the World

For many years, doctors and medical volunteers have spent countless hours in Haiti providing health care to those in need. Yet, even with the decades of effort by such committed people, this work has not moved the needle for health care enough.


Click for larger graphic

Haiti is one of the world’s most extreme medical environments. The statistics are staggering: the maternal mortality rate is 1 in 16, and the mortality rates for hypertension and stroke are the highest in North America. Throughout the past decade, as the nation has faced natural and political hardship, it has been clear that the familiar health care models of “hit and run relief” and “drive-by medical tours” do not work in Haiti. The presence of an estimated 4,500 non-governmental organizations and 10,000 charities working in Haiti since the 2010 earthquake underscores the fragmentation, redundancy and waste that are inherent to the current disjointed means of support. There is indeed a simpler, more inclusive and effective way to solve systemic, chronic health problems.

We founded Colleagues In Care to help answer this very call to service and change for the destitute poor in Haiti. As Chief Collaboration and Learning Officer for Colleagues In Care, I have witnessed, first hand, the power that comes from creating a single, vital global health network. Through engaging the best medical minds in the world, while focusing on purpose, participation and performance, we are helping transform the working medical blueprint in Haiti – “CollaborHaitian!” We are changing the rules of the game!

Colleagues In Care needed new cloud-based, crowd-sourcing, social and mobile technologies, and enhanced learning tools to truly make a difference. We needed to develop adaptable “best possible practices” for quality protocols of care and for sustained collaboration and learning on a global scale.

In line with the “CollaborHaitian” initiative and using cloud computing technology from IBM, doctors, nurses, medical personnel and other partners – including IBM employees – are connecting with one another. They are sharing best practices, tools and knowledge. And the emerging insights are being used within the community as a whole, and more importantly, by the vast number of volunteers and practitioners on the ground in Haiti.

Using the IBM SmartCloud, Colleagues In Care is creating a grassroots movement to transform the future of health care for the underserved – anywhere in the world. This Haitian model will be easily replicated and tailored to assess and address the medical issues of any area affected by poverty, limitation and extreme need. The cloud computing technology from IBM has given us a means to recruit, introduce and connect the world’s most renowned specialists with local health professionals. Colleagues In Care forges agreements with leading organizations to gain access to U.S. protocols, standard order sets, and clinical pathways, as well as medical educational content.

This collaboration and conversation not only bridges the gap between local and global expertise, but also inspires the co-creation of a “Best Possible Practices Model” (BPPM). With BPPM, we and our panel of volunteer specialists are able to offer specifically designed care that honors local circumstances and unites evidence- and reality-based medicine. The result is pinpoint focus of resources and care on highly critical illnesses, diseases and medical conditions – helping to reverse the dire health and health care of the underserved inHaiti.

The “power of community” speaks volumes for our organization. We are bringing a world of medical expertise to Haiti, and through these virtual relationships, we address health care issues with an immediacy that is unprecedented. Our tools enable us to offer on-site practitioners an arsenal of resources and support that has never before been available with such efficacy. Practices may be fine-tuned and implemented in the moment of need while insights and solutions may be presented as training tools for others. This model feeds itself, and growth becomes automatic as knowledge is shared freely and new conversations are sparked.

The common passion for service within the diverse network of people – each offering distinct knowledge, experience, perspective and vision – becomes contagious within the system. Colleagues In Care is helping take medical volunteerism to another level: colleague to colleague. We’re helping to transform good intentions and volunteerism into tangible outcomes. We are co-creating social value!

Marie Kenerson is Chief Collaboration and Learning Officer of Colleagues In Care, a global health network of doctors, nurses, medical personnel and other partners working together to provide quality health care services, telemedicine, knowledge and training to aid the poor and help alleviate suffering. Marie has combined organizational learning principles, dialogue skills and collaboration strategies with new IBM cloud and social network technologies to “crowd-source” a network of top medical professionals and volunteers from around the world in order to co-create and deliver localized best-possible medical practices.

Related Article:

Providing Shelter, Warmth and Dignity to Disaster Survivors

Share this post:

Share on LinkedIn

More Global Health Stories

Accelerating Cancer Discovery with Precision Medicine

Accurate diagnosis and treatment is essential when it comes to tackling cancer. As part of World Community Grid’s 10th anniversary celebrations, research partner David J. Foran, Ph.D., writes about how the program enabled his team to develop a new tool for doctors to diagnose cancer and tailor treatments to individual patients using big data and […]

Protecting the Eyesight of India’s Poor

The Sankara Eye Institutions provide comprehensive eye care to the rural and urban poor across India. Every week, our outreach teams of physicians and paramedics visit slum areas as far as 400 kilometres (249 miles) from our hospital to identify patients in need of treatment for surgically curable eye diseases. We provide the treatment and […]

Ghana Is Only the Beginning of New IBM and Peace Corps Collaboration

Ghana has long been a launch pad for groundbreaking international collaboration. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy sent the very first group of Peace Corps volunteers to Ghana. Eight years ago, the inaugural IBM Corporate Service Corps team, which brings IBM consultants, services, and talent to the world pro bono, also traveled to Ghana. For […]