Miller School Vigil Remembers Victims of Haiti’s Earthquake

Just before 5 p.m. on Wednesday, members of the Miller School family gathered on the Schoninger Research Quadrangle and bowed their heads for 35 seconds of silence to remember the 300,000 people killed in Haiti’s cataclysmic earthquake exactly a year earlier.

“Think of it,’’ Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., said before he began the somber reflection. “The earthquake lasted about 35 seconds. That’s 10,000 lives per second. So many wonderful lives.’’

The Dean also took a moment to remember the extraordinary response by Miller School faculty, staff and students who, within hours of the 7.0-magnitude quake that crushed the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince at 4:53 p.m. on January 12, 2010, began mounting an unprecedented relief effort that included the establishment of a 240-bed tent hospital that treated more than 30,000 survivors at the edge of the international airport.

“I can tell you the work was just extraordinary – God’s work,’’ the Dean said. “I could not be prouder of what you – faculty, staff and students – have done for our friends in Haiti.’’

Dean Goldschmidt also recognized Ron Bogue, assistant vice president for facilities and services, who oversaw construction of the field hospital and is now delivering a 55,000-pound trailer housing a donated CT scanner from Indiana to Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare, the community hospital Project Medishare partnered with after closing the tent hospital last summer. It is Hospital Bernard Mevs’ first CT scanner, and one of few in the country.

In a moving program emceed by student Rimsky Denis and organized by students Morgan Mandigo, Janki Amin and Rujuta Pandya and the organizations Physicians for Human Rights and Caneshare, participants expressed their passion and resolve to continue helping Haiti. The remembrance included original music performed by World Citizen, a band led by Devin Ganesh, a third-year medical student and president of the Music Ensembles for the Enrichment of Medicine, or MEEM, and an energetic presentation by Kiskeya Dance Troupe, composed of four students from North Miami Senior High School.

Miller School students Rosanne Henry and Natashia Lewis and Denis’s sister, Daniella, also shared their considerable talent as singers, with Henry singing Beyonce’s version of “Ave Maria,” Lewis offering a beautiful rendition of “Ain’t No Sunshine,” and Denis closing the program with the Haitian hymn “Our God Reigns Again.”

As Denis sang, Project Medishare co-founder Arthur Fournier, M.D., associate dean for community health affairs, and devoted Medishare leader Michel Dodard, M.D., associate professor of family medicine and community health, who have been bringing health care to Haiti for decades and are now battling cholera in the beleaguered nation, lit the first candles in what would be a sea of candles honoring the resilience and courage of the Haitian people, and the loved ones they lost.

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