Akron Children’s Hospital will focus attention on the children of Haiti with two events on Oct. 12

Children of Haiti focus of two events

Pediatric cardiologist Dr. John Clark works at St. Damien's Hospital in Haiti


Akron Children’s Hospital will focus attention on the children of Haiti with two events on Oct. 12. The featured speaker at both is the Rev. Rick Frechette, DO, an internationally known and respected physician, priest, author and advocate for the children of Haiti.

Frechette will be the keynote speaker at Akron Children’s Hospital’s Global Health Conference from 7:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Considine Professional Building, 215 W. Bowery St. The title of his talk is “Practicing Medicine in Austere Settings.”

Conference workshops will include public policy, case presentations and the personal stories and perspectives of doctors and nurses who have provided care in Haiti. Optional afternoon sessions focus on international adoptions, development of academic partnerships for global health, and the challenges of nursing in Haiti. Continuing medical education credit is available for physicians, nurses, residents, fellows, and allied health professionals.

In the evening, Akron Children’s Pediatric Global Health Center will sponsor a fundraiser to benefit St. Damien’s Hospital, a children’s hospital in Port-u-Prince. The two hospitals have an affiliation agreement and doctors and nurses from Akron Children’s visit St. Damien’s on a regular basis to provide care and develop programs. Frechette is the Haiti director for the non-profit Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos, which oversees St. Damien’s.

The event – a dinner and silent auction – will begin at 6 p.m. at St. Nicholas Banquet Center, 755 S. Cleveland Ave., in Mogadore. Tickets are $75 per person or a corporate table for eight is $1,000.

Frechette will speak and sign copies of his book, Haiti: The God of Tough Places, the Lord of Burnt Men. The silent auction will featured Haitian craft items and gift baskets. Vanita Oelschlager, a local philanthropist who has traveled to Haiti on one of Akron Children’s medical missions, will sign her book, I Came from the Water: One Haitian Boy's Incredible Tale of Survival.

St. Damien’s Hospital provides care for the disadvantaged and sick children of Haiti. More than half of all patients are admitted for an infectious disease, such as tuberculosis, malaria or HIV, while about 25 percent are admitted for non-infectious diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and kidney infection. Most patients are also malnourished.

“More than just about anyone, Father Frechette knows first-hand the unique challenges and joys of practicing medicine in a third-world country,” said Jeff Kemp, DO, director of Akron Children’s Global Health Center. “He knows the obstacles and he has creative ideas for how to deal with them. Anyone with an interest in global health will appreciate these wonderful opportunities to hear Father Frechette speak in Akron.”

For more information about the conference, including pricing and reservations, contact Katrina Wolford at 330-543-8407 or

For more information about the fundraiser, call 330-543-3550 or register to attend at

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News Facts
  • Two nurse practitioners from Akron Children's Hospital are helping St. Damien's Hospital establish its own pediatric nurse practitioner program, which will greatly  increase access to medical care for the children of Haiti.


  • In 2012, Akron Children's Global Health Center brought two young boys to Akron for life-saving surgeries to correct congenital heart defects. The boys' parents were unable to leave the country with them so Drs. Jeff and Ellen Kempf served as surrogate parents during the weeks they were in Akron for testing, the operations and post-surgery recovery.


  • After Akron Children's president and CEO Bill Considine visited St. Damien's Hospital, he became even more committed to the relationship between the two "sister hospitals" and an official affiliation agreement was established.  
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