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April 14, 2011
A group of volunteers based out of GW’s Interior Design program created a model for a new medical clinic in rural Haiti.
A design for a new medical clinic and education center in Marmount, Haiti was unveiled in GW’s Marvin Center April 12. The design was the product of New Dawn AYITI, an initiative based out of GW’s Interior Design program.
A model of self-sustainable health care delivery in Haiti, the clinic will focus on treating patients with HIV/AIDS and general community health and will be run by Project Medishare, a nonprofit organization that provides health care to Haitian people. The clinic will replace an older facility that was adopted by GW’s Medical Center, which has a longstanding partnership with Project Medishare through its International Medicine Program.
The proposed clinic is divided into six buildings and includes a laboratory, examination rooms, an education center and an outdoor courtyard that community members will have access to after hours. Some of the clinic’s features, such as smaller buildings and multiple entry points, were designed to reflect the cultural needs of the Haitian community, and multiple sustainable elements were incorporated, including use of recycled rainwater and solar power.
At the unveiling, Assistant Professor of Interior Design Nadia Volchansky and
Takehiro Nakamura of OPX Global, a design firm based in D.C., gave an overview of the clinic design. Arthur Fournier, co-founder of Project Medishare, and Sabrina Adewumi, M.F.A. ’09, also offered remarks.
To design the clinic, approximately 50 volunteers gathered at GW’s Mount Vernon Campus April 9 and 10 for a charrette, or an intense period of design activity. The charrette kicked off April 9 with a ceremony at the Embassy of the Republic of Haiti in Northwest D.C. with GW Associate Vice President for International Programs Donna Scarboro and faculty and students from GW’s Interior Design program as well as volunteers from the fields of architecture, engineering, medical, global health and human resource management.
“We designed a health care clinic that would not only meet the medical needs of Marmount but also provide education and community support and help bring people together,” said Ms. Volchansky. “We are excited that this effort will strengthen GW’s presence in Haiti.”
Ms. Volchansky and a group of 18 graduate students began designing a new sustainable clinic in Haiti two years ago. Their original design won a Healthcare Environments Award from Contract Magazine. Ms. Volchansky said this new design is more researched and “forward thinking,” and directly addresses the medical needs of the community.
“This design is well reasoned, creative, and responsive to the Haitian landscape and to the shortage of natural resources like water,” she said. “It’s also very sensitive to the local culture and to the needs of the community. It exceeds health care needs; it’s about letting the community feel that there is hope.”
The initiative’s next goal is to raise funds for the clinic, which is estimated to cost $250,000. They hope to break ground by end of 2011.
Ms. Volchansky said the support of the volunteers has been “incredible.”
“The outpouring of enthusiasm, talent and goodwill was beyond our expectations,” she said. “We even had volunteers who just wanted to provide food and supplies for the charrette. That kind of support just makes us believe in our cause more, if that’s possible.”
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