In January, 2005, the first class of 36 Haitian nursing students was admitted to the Faculté des Sciences Infirmières de l’Université Episcopale d’Haïti in Léogâne (FSIL) *Faculty of Nursing Science of the Episcopal University of Haiti]. Through the efforts of Dr. Jack Lafontant, Medical Director of Hôpital Ste. Croix, and Ruth Barnard, PhD, RN, from First Presbyterian Church in Ann Arbor, MI, this long held dream of a professional school of nursing in Léogâne was realized.
Working with the Medical Benevolence Foundation, associated with the Presbyterian Church (USA), Dr. Lafontant received funding for the building and dormitory from the United States Agency for International Development, Office of American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (USAID, ASHA) with additional funding from donors to MBF.
Many other people have served important roles in the development of FSIL. These include James Hite, architect; Donna S. Martsolf, PhD, RN, curriculum consultant; and Jessie Colin, PhD, RN, nursing consultant. Marge VanMeter, MSN, RN, and Jerry Veldman, MD, FAAP were instrumental in organizing and serving on the FSIL Governing Board, as well as formation of the Haiti Nursing Foundation.
Today, under the able leadership of Dean Hilda Alcindor RN, students are being educated to international standards in the art and science of nursing. These students are being well prepared to provide care specific to the urgent health needs of the Haitian people.
Connection with the Episcopal University of Haiti
Upon request, Rt. Rev. Jean Zaché Duracin, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti, made the School of Nursing part of the Episcopal University of Haiti. Upon completion of their four-year program, students receive an academic degree in nursing (BSN).