Country of Origin:
Graduate Program: Master’s program in Public Health at the University of Washington, Seattle, U.S.A.
Background & Goals: Marie Agathe Jean Baptiste has worked on public health issues in her community using popular education and community organizing methods. A physician, Dr. Baptiste started the Integrated Health Program, a health clinic for rural communities, at the request of the Mouvman Peyizan Papay (Peasant Movement of Papay, MPP) a peasant popular education organization of which she has been a member since she was a teenager. The Integrated Health program, based on the models of popular education and community organizing, has been run by Baptiste for over two years, and has trained hundreds of female health promoters and traditional birth attendants as well as educated local rural communities through its innovative programming. Baptiste’s intention is to return to Haiti and continue her work at the Integrated Health Program incorporating the public health principals that she has learned.
Dr. Baptiste’s vision is to give Haitian peasants a voice in the healthcare movement. As she explained, “I want to advocate for health policy at the regional and national levels that favors the rural communities in Haiti.” She is especially interested in promoting women’s health because of the central role of women in their families and communities: “I believe that informed and healthy women have the power to change their lives and their communities.”
Post-Degree Projects: Dr. Baptiste conducted her practicum research on barriers faced by traditional birth attendants in rural Haiti focusing specifically on the issue of reducing maternal mortality in two Central Plateau communities. Her thesis was entitled, “Can Haiti deliver on its promise to offer everyone a basic package of health services? An analysis of health workforce needs.” Since completion of her MPH program, she has returned to Haiti to further distribute the results of her research and to continue her work in public health.
Update: Since surviving the January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Dr. Baptiste has served as an advisor on Haiti for the Global Fund for Women, a Project Officer for Fondation SOGEBANK, a Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist for UNDP, and a Public Health Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.