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News Round Up: Social Workers Helping Haiti Earthquake Victims

The National Association of Social Workers is rallying its almost 150,000 members to help Haitian earthquake victims.

“Social workers are often among the first to respond to disasters both nationally and abroad,” says Elizabeth Clark, PhD, ACSW, MPH, executive director of NASW. “The people of Haiti need our help now more than ever, and we are committed to providing any assistance we can to one of the world’s poorest countries during this terrible tragedy.”

To learn more about NASW’s earthquake response and how you can help click here.
Here’s a round-up of social work news related to the earthquake. Please send us more tips:

Ex-Pasco resident bringing hope to Haiti
The News Tribune (Tacoma, WA)
“(Social worker) Brittany Hilker knew from the time she was a kid growing up in Pasco that she wanted to help people in need. So after graduating last year from Eastern Washington University, the 25-year-old moved to Haiti where she found an outlet for her generous spirit — the Hope for Haiti Children’s Center.”

Not Too Soon for Mental Health Care in Port-au-Prince
Huffington Post

“Naomi Levitz, a social worker on our team, has worked closely with Mabo for several years and when we arrive, she is quickly surrounded by a swarm of joyous children.”

Quake Victims Starving
Decatur Daily

“Leslie Loyd struggled to find words to describe what she saw in Haiti two months after a devastating earthquake. ‘It looks like the Apocalypse, really,’ she said. Loyd earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from Auburn in 2009 and expects to graduate next year from University of Alabama at Birmingham with a degree in international public health, focusing on long-term hunger relief and development.”

Older Adult Specialists Travel to Haiti to Provide Needed Care to Vulnerable Nursing Home Residents
“Two months after the devastating earthquake hit Haiti, the needs of older adults in the region remain an urgent priority. Dr. Martin Gorbien, a geriatrician, and Lauren Kessler, a licensed clinical social worker, both from Rush University Medical Center, will be among the first older adult specialists to travel to Haiti to provide care at make-shift nursing homes.”

Haiti’s Excluded
The Nation
“Ruth Derilus had seen her share of tragedy. A 33-year-old iron-willed social worker trained by Haiti’s Papay Peasant Movement, she twice helped organize relief efforts when massive floods devastated the city of Gonaïves and the surrounding countryside. But nothing would prepare her for the tribulations she would face after the earthquake that struck Port-au-Prince on January 12 of this year.”

SCCPSS School Social Workers Raise Money for Red Cross
WSAV 3  TV (Savannah, Ga. and Hilton Head, SC)
“It was an enthusiastic afternoon Thursday at the Savannah-Chatham County school district’s Bull Street offices.The school social workers hosted a silent auction complete with dinners out, hotel stays, artwork and more. All of the money raised is going to the American Red Cross for the Haiti relief efforts.”

Social workers play detective to reunite families
USA Today
Social workers and community activists in Haiti are going to orphanages, hospitals, camps and even the medical Navy ship USNS Comfort on the trail of parents of children found alone after last month’s devastating earthquake.”

Annette Vander Ploeg: We were first responders to Haiti’s earthquake
Democracy for New Hampshire
“I, a clinical social worker by profession, assisted the nurse practitioners in numerous ways, scribing, blood pressure, weighing. Not speaking Kreole, communication was through eyes and touch and a few French words. The poverty and hard lives of these people were staggering. Their kindness and strong spirit were inspiring.”

Helping Haiti Heal
Student Life: Washington University in St. Louis
“While in Haiti conducting research, Washington University Assistant Professor of Social Work Lora Iannotti was caught in the earthquake that left an estimated 200,000 people dead…”

Local nonprofit strives to nourish infants of Haiti
The St. Louis American
“Two days before the Jan. 12 earthquake killed more than 200,000 people, Lora Iannotti, Ph.D., nutrition and public health expert from the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University, traveled to Port-au-Prince and Leogane, Haiti, to collaborate with Meds and Food for Kids on research regarding undernutrition and disease prevention in young children.”

Agency needs caseworkers who speak Creole
The Tampa Tribune
“Do you speak Creole? Have a background in social work? If so, Lutheran Services Florida desperately needs you – as either an employee or a volunteer.”

Bringing Hope, and Help, to a Battered Land
The Boston College Chronicle
“Alison Quinn, a student in the Graduate School of Social Work and Connell School of Nursing joint degree program, is preparing to put her skills to work in a place where they are sorely needed. On Feb. 21, she will head off to Haiti with Circle of Hope, an organization of doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses and medical staff that regularly goes to Leogane, a city outside of Port au Prince.”

Professor tells story of traveling with Haitian Orphans
The Pitt News
“Edward Sites, a professor in Pitt’s School of Social Work (and National Association of Social Workers member), was growing weary. He had not eaten or slept since departing from Pittsburgh hours ago. His energy faded as he unloaded and arranged medical supplies for nearly five hours. He was waiting for politicians to convince the Haitian government to allow Americans Jamie and Ali McMutrie and their colleagues to take 54 orphans into the United States.”

Local efforts spur more Haiti relief
Traverse City Record-Eagle (Michigan)
“A Haiti benefit concert is scheduled for Feb. 17 at Kilkenny’s. The concert is sponsored by Phi Alpha, a social work honors society student group through Ferris State University, and Kilkenny’s Irish Pub.”

Social worker helps relief staff handle the emotional trauma of Haiti
The Baltimore Sun
“Contino, a clinical social worker, was dispatched to Haiti to address the emotional trauma of the Baltimore-based (Catholic Relief Agency’s) large staff, which includes 300 Haitians and a core group of expatriates.”

In Disaster, Tensions Ease Between an Island’s Rivals
New York Times
“Like almost anyone from Hispaniola, the island uncomfortably shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic, Paloma Rivera is acutely aware that the two nations distrust each other, complain about each other and cite grievances about each other going back well over a century. Yet here she was, a Dominican, clearing garbage and digging latrines in a slum in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, to help survivors of the earthquake find a place to pitch their tents.’Maybe this earthquake, even with its tragedies, can do some good by making us a little less distant from each other,’ said Ms. Rivera, 24, a social worker who joined thousands of other Dominicans in loading emergency food and medicine into their vehicles and driving here.”

Dunlap native aids Haiti (Illinois)
“When Dunlap resident Kelly Scott joined Meds and Food for Kids as an intern, she did not expect her first project to be Haiti’s post-earthquake relief efforts. Scott is pursuing a dual master’s degree in business administration and social work at Washington University in St. Louis.”

Area Students Pitch In for Haiti
Louisburg Herald (Kansas)
“The student council at Louisburg High School is collecting money this week to be donated, and Sara McIntire, social worker at BES and Rockville Elementary School, came up with a plan of her own. Working through Heart to Heart International, a non-profit organization based in Olathe, McIntire is collecting care kits to be sent to Haiti. Families construct the kits themselves and package them in a one-gallon plastic storage bag, along with $1 for shipping.”

In Miami’s Little Haiti, nothing to do but work, wait, hope, pray
Los Angeles Times
“At the Haitian Relief Information Center hastily set up in the heart of Little Haiti, county social worker Shirley Sieger was, in theory, there to help …”

Local woman worries over Haitian friends as aid efforts take form
Las Cruces Sun-News
“… are in Port-au-Prince,” said Burke, who works at the Gospel Rescue Mission in Las Cruces and recently earned her master’s degree in social work. …”

Mass. student on trip to Haiti
Nashua Telegraph
“The Telegram & Gazette of Worcester reports that Gengel is a 19-year-old sophomore majoring in social work. Comments from unverified accounts will be …”

Haitian Orphans Expected Tonight in Pittsburgh
“A plane carrying a medical team left Pittsburgh for Haiti today, and it is expected to return tonight with a group of orphans from a facility run by two sisters from western Pennsylvania…The flight also includes Ed Sites, of the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work, along with a pediatric nurse and a physician assistant from Excela Health Systems based in Westmoreland County.”

Haiti Relief effort group shifts into high gear
New Haven Register
“Mary Lou Ryder-Larkin, who works full-time in the pediatric emergency department of Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx section of New York, is medical director of Haiti Marycare, a group that since 1994 has delivered medical, educational and humanitarian relief to the poorest people of Haiti. The group was founded in 1994 by New Haven resident Sherman Cassidy Malone…These days, Malone, a licensed clinical social worker with a specialty in post-traumatic stress disorders and clinical director of the New Haven Family Alliance, is quick to answer the telephone in hopes of news, but often the connection disappears.”

Elation turns to anxiety for one Mass. family
“A Rutland couple’s relief and celebration that their daughter had been located alive in Haiti turned to shock and disbelief last night when they learned that a mistake had been made and she was still missing…Britney Gengel is studying social work, relatives said.”

Haiti Children Orphaned After Quake
Social workers say Haiti has always had a large number of children needing to be adopted, but after last week’s earthquake the number of orphaned children has surged.”

Quake’s tremors felt close to home
The Boston Globe
“It was an amazing thing for them to do, to embrace us like this,” said Exilhomme, a 33-year-old social worker who is president of A Better Tomorrow International Charities Inc., a social service agency for the Boston-area Haitian Community.

Haiti Orphan Adoption: Ensuring a Successful Transition
PR Web
“Haiti adoption interest has spiked after the disastrous earthquake and aftershocks in Haiti. In response to the crisis, you are invited to listen in on this discussion regarding the orphans being adopted out of this country. Heather T. Forbes, LCSW and Dr. Ronald Federici discuss the dynamics in transitioning these children from disaster to safety and security.”

Photo of Haitian earthquake refugees courtesy of CNN.

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  1. I pray for those people who have been injured in Haiti. The earthquake in Haiti is one of the word disasters this year. I just hope that they would be able to recover soon.

  2. My Prayers go out to the people of Haiti and the Haitian Americans who have loved-ones in Haiti. I am so overcome with empathy and wish that there was something more that I could do. I will continue to Pray for God’s divine intervention and mercy.

  3. All over the world there are many children who need homes. I feel we need to target the root of the problem. Educate the people on not having more children than they can feed or educate. Educate them on sex in detail and how to prevent aids and pregnancy. The poverty and homeless children eventually never have a good life or find work and this leads to crime. The population in the world should perhaps follow guidelines like China has,where everyone is only allowed one child by law.

    This would make much more happy educated people who have a fulfilled life.People should really be taught the importance of not having more children than they can feed or educate , and how to prevent pregnancy or aids.Prevention is better than cure. This could be heaven for everyone.-Buts its not because of an overcrowded planet and children who have parents who are not capable of looking after them.

  4. i have several relatives who were also vicitimized by the earthquake in Haiti. thank God that they were not seriously hurt. i hope and pray that Haiti would be able to recover soon from this disaster.

  5. Have anyone noticed that earthquakes are a bit frequent these days? . Does climate change have any thing to do with earthquakes?

  6. some of my friends who work in haiti were also victimized by that terrible earthquake. i was very thankful that they only suffered minor scratches.

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