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Architecture students, faculty help rebuild Haitian hospital

Jessica Karsten, a first-year graduate student in the SOA, explains her design for the renovations to Brigham and Women's Hospital in Belladere, Haiti to the health-care studio held on Monday morning. Professor Joanna Lombard of the SOA and Dr. David Walton of PIH and the hospital listen to her ideas.  JESSICA HODDER // HURRICANE STAFF

Jessica Karsten, a first-year graduate student in the SOA, explains her design for the renovations to Brigham and Women's Hospital in Belladere, Haiti to the health-care studio held on Monday morning. Professor Joanna Lombard of the SOA and Dr. David Walton of PIH and the hospital listen to her ideas. JESSICA HODDER // HURRICANE STAFF

Photos of a run-down building lined the walls of a studio in the School of Architecture Monday morning. Students and faculty met in a healthcare studio at this school with a new project in mind: to renovate a hospital built in 1948 in Belladere, Haiti.

The project involves students, faculty and the healthcare studio as well as the organization Partners in Health (PIH). The focus of PIH is to provide better healthcare options for the poor.

One of the main obstacles facing students is space.

“The hospital has the capacity to be a major surgical center, but they are constrained by the lack of facilities available,” said Dr. David Walton, a staff member of the hospital and a member of PIH for over 10 years. “We need all the space we can get.”

Waiting room size is also limited. Patients sometimes have to wait outside in the heat to be seen by a doctor.

Places to prepare for operations, operating rooms, post operation areas, an infectious disease ward and a maternity ward were among the needs Walton expressed on Monday morning.

Walton also reminded the group of the necessity of having separation among different clinics, such as outpatient and in-patient as well as maternity and infectious disease.

The infectious disease ward is a particularly important aspect of the hospital – Haiti has the highest tuberculosis and HIV infection rates in the western hemisphere, according to the Embassy of Haiti’s Web site.

Joanna Lombard, who is leading the current session of the studio, said the next steps will be to regroup after this meeting and then take their four best designs to Haiti and compare them to the actual building.

The School of Architecture’s associate dean, Denis Hector, will lead the first summer session of the studio and take students to Haiti to visit the site.

Additional details for plans in the future will account for factors such as lighting, ventilation and ceiling requirements.

April 29, 2009

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Jessica Hodder

Contributing News Writer


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