Haitian Community Leader to Speak in Pittsburgh

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Gabriel Thelus, a native of Jacsonville (formerly Matabonite) Haiti, and long-time community leader, will visit Pittsburgh for the first time from September 28 to October 4, 2012.

“Many die unnecessarily in Jacsonville from preventable conditions that others do not die from in the developed world,” Smith points out." - Alison Smith, Sante Total

Gabriel Thelus, a native of Jacsonville (formerly Matabonite) Haiti, and long-time community leader, will visit Pittsburgh for the first time from September 28 to October 4, 2012.

Thelus is the son of a poor Haitian farmer and attended Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., earning an associate’s degree in agronomy in 1994. Following graduation, he returned to Haiti to realize his father’s dream that became his own, to overcome poverty and work for the betterment of living conditions of the people in his village. Jacsonville is located in the mountains in the northeast region of the Central Plateau, some 200 miles from the capital of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Through his leadership and efforts of a local association that he founded, he built the first chapel in the village, elementary school, bridge, mission house and now work is being completed on a medical clinic. Besides using his agricultural education to plant and harvest community gardens, Thelus is providing jobs for residents with training and local construction projects.

In addition to raising much-needed funds to support building a primary care clinic for villagers who lack access to local healthcare, Thelus’ presentation is designed to provide a first-hand encounter of daily life experiences in one of the poorest countries in the world and illustrate how he is working with others to improve the lives of the people.

With a Haitian life expectancy of 48 years, it is hoped that a medical clinic will address multiple needs for basic medical care including reducing the number of deaths from preventable conditions, provide prenatal care, prevent child mortality and offer dental and vision screening.

Alison Smith grew up in Monroeville, and is currently an MD/PhD candidate attending Tulane University in New Orleans, La. She is the founder of Sante Total, a volunteer organization of medical students and physicians from Tulane University that visit Jacsonville four times a year to provide health care to the community. Smith is the medical director of the health clinic.

“Many die unnecessarily in Jacsonville from preventable conditions that others do not die from in the developed world,” Smith points out.

    The work of Thelus is supported by the nonprofit group, Sante Total (meaning “total health” in Haitian Kreyol) and the David A. Goy Foundation in Virginia. For more information, visit http://www.SanteTotal.org.

    To arrange an interview or presentation with Gabriel Thelus while he is in Pittsburgh, please contact Paula Smith at SmithPaula11(at)gmail(dot)com or call: 412-373-2076.

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Paula Smith

412-373-2076
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