Haiti has a tremendous burden of arthritis, lupus, and other rheumatic diseases. Currently there are only two rheumatologists to serve the country's entire population of over 10 million. Without access to a well-trained specialist, many patients with these conditions are misdiagnosed or remain untreated.
To address this problem, the University of California Haiti Initiative is partnering with the State University of Haiti Medical School and physicians at UCLA to train a new Haitian rheumatologist at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica, and in Thousand Oaks.
Dr. Wilciane-Claire Belliot, a talented young physician from Haiti, has been selected for the training that will prepare her to care for patients at Haiti's busiest, public teaching hospital and also help her establish Haiti's first rheumatology clinic. In addition, Belliot will serve as a professor at the State University of Haiti's School of Medicine, helping to train Haiti's next generation of physicians.
A new crowdfunding campaign is underway to raise $5,000 to bring Belliot to UCLA this summer for part of her training -- to work side-by-side with some of the world's best rheumatologists at UCLA.
"This is a great opportunity to help fill a major medical need in Haiti since few health resources in the country are currently targeting rheumatic diseases," said Dr. Rebecca Gordon, the project's faculty lead who is a UCLA rheumatologist.
Upon returning to Haiti, Belliot will participate in continuous medical training from visiting rheumatologists throughout the University of California. In addition, she will receive remote lectures and maintain a close mentorship with Gordon.
UCLA Spark, an online crowdfunding platform for innovative projects that is underway at UCLA, will host the 30-day campaign starting May 15.
"We hope to raise funds to help bring Dr. Belliot to UCLA, including covering her flight, housing, food, transport, visa fee and short-term health insurance," said Sophia Lykke, Chapter Director of the UC Haiti Initiative at UCLA.
Funding raised beyond $5,000 during the campaign will contribute to establishing Haiti's first rheumatology clinic.
Materials provided by University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Health Sciences. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
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