From left: Paul Farmer, Walton Fellows Jasmine Valcourt and Arklin Dumeny, and David Walton

From left: Paul Farmer, Walton Fellows Jasmine Valcourt and Arklin Dumeny, and David Walton

Thanks to the newly formed Walton Global Health Administration Fellowship, two finance administrators from Haiti recently had the opportunity to strengthen their leadership skills at BWH and Partners HealthCare.

For six weeks this spring, Arklin Dumeny and Jasmine Valcourt participated in a combination of didactic classroom sessions, interviews, rotations and mentoring sessions to broaden their managerial skills. Dumeny is a budget officer at Zanmi Lasante, which is Partners In Health’s (PIH) sister organization in Haiti, and Valcourt is an accountant at Zanmi Lasante and Hôpital Universitaire de Mirebalais (HUM), Haiti’s 300-bed teaching hospital.

Last spring, BWH donors Marjorie Benton and Diane and Al Kaneb created the fellowship with the goal of strengthening the administrative health care infrastructure in Haiti.

The fellowship was named in honor of David Walton, MD, MPH, of BWH’s Division of Global Health Equity, to recognize his dedication to building HUM following the 2010 earthquake. Walton has been addressing medical needs in Haiti since he first visited the country as a research assistant to Paul Farmer, MD, PhD, chief of the Division of Global Health Equity, in 1999.

“Hospital leadership in Haiti as well as leaders at BWH, Partners and PIH want to ensure administrators have the skills needed to support Haiti’s teaching hospital and its infrastructure,” said Jennifer Goldsmith, MS, MEd, administrative director for the Division of Global Health Equity, who accompanied the fellows during their time in Boston. “The new program will help make this goal a reality.”

With initial program funding secured for two years, the hope is that additional funding will be raised in order to continue the program beyond that time. In addition to building upon managerial and leadership skills of participants, the fellowship will strengthen the relationship among the institutions.

While at BWH, Dumeny and Valcourt met with many BWHers, including Lance Rachelefsky, an administrative director in BWH’s Department of Medicine, who spoke about the day-to-day operations of primary care clinics and reflected on the importance of providing excellent patient care in a respectful manner.

“Arklin and Jasmine were extremely thankful for the opportunity to learn about the work that we do here,” Rachelefsky said. “It’s always nice to talk about the successes and challenges of management and operations with others in the same field.”

The fellows will take their knowledge back to Haiti and create projects in their institutions that have potential to positively impact HUM and Zanmi Lasante. They will return to Boston in September for additional shadowing opportunities across Partners and to seek feedback about their projects.

Leo Buckley, executive director of business operations for Nursing and Patient Care Services, also met with the fellows during their time in Boston. He said although BWH is miles away from HUM and Zanmi Lasante, the three institutions share a common vision of providing the best care to patients in the safest environment.

“I am very lucky to have met our BWH and Partners colleagues,” said Valcourt. “This program has helped me increase my knowledge of the field and develop new skills, and will help me to improve the system in which I work.”