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Training Future Haitian Rheumatologist to Meet Critical Need

Date: 05/15/2014
Contact: Rachel Champeau ()
Phone: 310-794-2270

Crowdfunding Campaign to Raise Money for Training at UCLA

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. 

Follow the conversation on Twitter at www.twitter.com/UCHAITIorg and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/UCHAITIorg. To learn more, watch a video and support the project, please visit: http://ucla.in/1g1cHWQ.

The UC Haiti Initiative (UCHI) connects leaders from the University of California and the State University of Haiti to promote higher education and development in Haiti and California. UCHI hopes to build off of prior successes in pediatric, emergency medicine, and microbiology trainings.

Each of the 10 UC campuses has a UCHI student chapter, including UCLA. The Haitian Country Director works in Haiti to coordinate with our colleagues at the State University of Haiti. The initiative is administratively housed at the UCLA Center for World Health.

The UCLA Division of Rheumatology is ranked in the Top 10 across the nation by U.S. News & World Report.  UCLA rheumatologists provide consultation, diagnosis and treatment for simple to complex rheumatic diseases, including general rheumatology and arthritis, lupus, scleroderma, myositis, gout and osteoarthritis.  In addition to providing a full range of advanced and effective conventional therapies, UCLA integrates complementary methods such as acupuncture.  The division also has an active research and training program.  For more information or to make an appointment, visit the website: www.rheumatology.ucla.edu   or call 310-825-2448. 

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