Center for Haitian Studies Going Strong in Miami
You don’t have to go to Haiti to learn more about Haitians. On the East Coast, there are a number of very good organizations both providing health and social services to the Diaspora and promoting Haitian culture. The Center for Haitian Studies (CHS), based in Miami's Little Haiti neighborhood, is an excellent example. Founded in 1988, it is a good resource for both Haitians and friends of Haiti alike.
CHS provides a wide range of services including culturally appropriate health education, free health services, counseling, case management, home delivered meals to vulnerable individuals, and financial assistance. CHS also carries out literacy and cultural adaptation programs for Haitian immigrants. CHS outreach workers participate in health fairs across South Florida, distributing educational materials, giving presentations, etc.
CHS is the primary provider of HIV/AIDS related services in Little Haiti. Its staff conduct one-to-one and group education sessions. Sessions are conducted in public places including laundromats, churches, and schools, as well as in private homes. Voluntary counseling and testing is available for clients on a walk-in basis using ORASURE, which minimizes stress and wait times.
The organization works with the CHS Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine on research intended to deterimine risk factors for breast cancer and cervical cancer in Haitian women and to address barriers to prevention and early detection of cancer among these women.
If you’ve been to Haiti then you know radio (and the rumor mill) are the preferred mediums for conveying information. With funding from the University of Miami Department of Family Medicine/Community Health (Area Health Education Center (AHEC) and the Public Health Trust/Jackson Memorial Hospital, CHS hosts a popular bi-weekly radio program, and broadcasts daily health promotion messages in Kreyol. Messages in Kreyol are key - As it has been said, the first language is the language of the heart and the second language is the language of the head. If you are in Miami, you can check out their radio program on Saturday at 4:00 pm and Wednesday at 10:00, both times on AM 1020 Radio MEGA.
Not least, CHS also is involved in activities to promote Haitian culture. To know the country’s art, music, dance is to understand the culture in a way that neither book nor blog can fully convey. Since 1994, CHS has produced an annual Haitian Roots Music Festival. This event features the best rasin musicians and dance troups Haiti has to offer. Artisans also come to display their artwork to a broad audience, usually the first Saturday in November.
Over the past seventeen years, the organization has received more than twenty million dollars in grants from various federal, state and local entities such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Miami-Dade County, the City of Miami Community Development Block Grant, HOPWA, the University of Miami Area Health Education Program, the Health Foundation of South Florida, the Dr. John T. MacDonald Foundation and the Dade Community Foundation.
Interested in becoming involved? Take a look at their website, participate in one of their events, or call CHS for an appointment. They are open from 9:00-5:00 on weekdays and their building is located in the middle of Little Haiti at 8260 N.E. 2nd Avenue, Miami, FL 33138. Their telephone is 305 757-9555 and their fax is 305 756-8023. Of course you can always email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org