As Konbit Sante’s program director in Haiti, Dr. Hans-Michel Pierrot is an important figure in promoting our mission of strengthening the health system in Greater Cap-Haitien. This includes communicating with our healthcare partners and the Ministry of Health, coordinating volunteer activities, overseeing quality improvement initiatives, working with other NGOs, helping to organize community outreach efforts, and more.
A native of Cap-Haitian, Dr. Pierrot received his medical degree in the Dominican Republic, then returned to Haiti to practice. Although he was interested in pursuing a surgery specialty, his first job working with Doctors without Borders on the 2011 cholera epidemic response turned his career aspirations to public health. He worked for the Ministry of Health for many years as a general practitioner, then obtained a bachelor degree in law and spent a year in Israel to obtain a master’s degree in Public Health. Before joining the Konbit Sante family in December, he worked on a health system strengthening project in Haiti funded by USAID.
Dr. Pierrot recently took time out from his busy schedule to answer some questions about his career and job:
Q: In what area of Cap-Haitien were you born and raised?
A: I was living within the city during the first 10 years of my life. Then I moved to Petite Anse, [located] a couple of minutes past the international airport. And I still live there now.
Q: What were your parents’ occupations?
A: Growing up, both of my parents were teachers. As my dad later graduated from law school, after a couple of years, he dedicated all his time to practicing law.
Q: What made you want to become a doctor?
A: It was just my dream as a kid in high school to become a doctor. And I went for it.
Q: Why did you decide to return to Haiti after completing your medical degree in the Dominican Republic?
A: Well, I honestly did not want to stay in the Dominican Republic. I just came back home.
Q: Please describe your experience working with Doctors without Borders on the cholera epidemic response. What were your duties? How did this experience affect your decision to pursue a career in public health?
A: This experience really was a turning point in my career. It exposed the weakness of the [Haitian health] system and the vulnerability of the people. I learned a lot from that experience, and it played a major role in my decision to do public health rather than some clinical specialty.
Q: In what areas of Haiti did you work for the Ministry of Health as a general practitioner? Did this work take you to many rural/mountainous regions?
A: I worked at CDS La Fossette, a primary health center located in the city itself. While working there, I used to do voluntary work in the countryside with a group of other volunteers working at the same facility.
Q: What prompted your decision to go to Israel to complete your master’s degree?
A: I was really looking for a program at that time to do my MPH [Master of Public Health] when a friend of mine told me about the IMPH [International Master of Public Health] program in Jerusalem. I looked at it and applied. It came at the right time. That was a gift!
Q: What is your marital status? Do you have any children?
A: I am not married yet. No children so far.
Q: In your opinion, what needs to happen for Haiti to have a sustainable health system?
A: I think we need to restructure the health system in our country in a way that everyone can have access to primary health care.
Q: How did you hear about Konbit Sante, and why did you want to work for us?
A: I heard about Konbit Sante from a friend. Then I had the opportunity to work with them during a week as a translator. This was an exposure that presents their values and mission. And from that point, I became interested.
Q: What are your goals as program director?
A: As program director, I want to contribute to pursuing the organization’s values and goals. I also would like to contribute to sustainable betterment in health services delivery for the community, and also for the health system.