administration’s opening move was to insist that we offer the students traveler’s insurance and that the students sign a waiver of responsibility before going to Haiti. For our part we strove to gain academic credibility for Medishare. Our students returned from each trip with glowing reports of how much they had learned. Furthermore, we also published an article in Academic Medicine, detailing Medishare’s educational merits. Our students published and presented at international health conferences their experiences screening for tuberculosis among orphans and their case series of children with congenital rubella.
Our grant from the Open Society Institute to establish family medicine residency training in Haiti furthered our academic credibility enormously. No one at our school had ever before received a grant from Mr. Soros’s foundation. Plus, as luck would have it, Ellen, our benefactrice at the Open Society Institute, happened to be very good friends with the University’s new president, Donna Shalala. President Shalala, a former Peace Corps volunteer and a former Secretary of Health and Human Services, was on a mission to make us a great university. If we could win her over, we’d be poised for checkmate. What won the day, finally, was continuing support from the Green Family Foundation.
The Green Family Foundation was established by a wealthy Miami businessman and former ambassador who gives a healthy portion of his income to charity every year. He also sits on the University of Miami’s Board of Trustees. Kimberly, his daughter, runs the foundation. Her faintly counterculture appearance—she’s always dressed in peasant blouses and bell-bottom jeans—belies focus and good instincts, which she applies with a hands-on approach to the family’s charity. I had met her at Barth’s office in an introductory meeting arranged by the Development Office. In attendance were several wealthy women, most of whom were only mildly interested in what we were doing in Haiti. Kimberly, on the other hand, immediately saw the potential to do something special there. Her foundation was focusing on AIDS in children. It had already built a wing for chil-