Message From the NY Chapter President
Dear colleagues, friends, invited guests….
As we come to the closing moment of this mini-congress, let me thank the organizers for the honor of se-lecting New York as the venue for our executive leaders to craft and outline a set of helpful recommenda-tions for the future of the AMHE organization.
I would like to begin the evening by welcoming all of the participants, many of whom are also contributors to the original draft of the vision and mission of this time-honored medical association.
In particular, I would like to recognize the current Central Executive Committee President, Dr. Maxime Coles, chairman of the Board of thrustee, Dr. Ducarmel Augustin , the tireless secretary Dr. Frantz Hya-cinthe Chairman of the AMHE Foundation Dr Emmanuel François and the past Chairman of the board Dr. Fritz Apollon.
Tonight, we are here for the dual purpose of closing the congress and carrying on our glorious tradition of the annual gala of the New York Chapter, usually held at the beginning of Spring, an appropriate season to reflect on the many worthy deeds of the past year while signaling the much-needed work to be done in the new year. This is also an evening to enjoy the ritual of a large “family reunion” in the Haitian-American medical community. An occasion upon which we should thank all those who, by their presence here to-night, help us serve the medical needs of Haitian communities everywhere, in the U.S., in the bateys of Dominican Republic, in Cap Haitien, Port-au-Prince, St Marc and wherever we have, over the last 42 years, left our footprint of goodwill in the minds of our compatriots, nationals and expatriates alike. On a personal note, I would like, at this time, to thank all those who have made my last two years serving as President of this chapter an enriching experience. Despite the difficulties and the high demands of the office, I am very grateful for the support and encouragement from my close circle of friends for making my years of service a true labor of love. Because of the friendly cooperation and warm camaraderie from dedicated chapter members, I was able to accomplish some of my most ambitious goals as President in an orderly timeline. With complete confidence, I was able to tackle the difficult task of reversing the steady decline in membership and establish an open line of communication for anyone with constructive criti-cisms to be heard. Our educational programs, our last convention in St Martin, and our past two annual galas have had a record attendance with a diversity that was quite palpable, bringing together past presi-dents and new members of both generations. Most importantly I was successful in creating a new “think tank” committee to assure the viability of our beloved AMHE. Using the pulpit of the presidency, I was able to uplift the morale and the general consciousness of our founding members to pursue a new orien-tation that is better aligned with the changing tides of the healthcare industry. To that end, I facilitated the road to such a new direction by organizing two brainstorming sessions here in Long island a few months ago. These sessions were primarily aimed at:
• Stimulating a membership growth that is inclusive and reflective of the current generational shift evident in the Haitian American community
• Establishing a new governance structure to better implement specific organizational goals and industry-appropriate initiatives
• Identifying ways and means of having a steady source of funding for the various community-based health programs
I can hardly grasp that two years have passed since I made a commitment to serve as your President. I have greatly enjoyed the privilege of adding some measure of stability to the organization. I have tried to execute my responsibilities to the best of my ability. Now, it is time for me to turn the emblem of this great office to a successor who will soon be chosen to shoulder the complex problems inherent in this position. The personal sacrifices required to perform the duties of this office can only be explained by sheer devo-tion, great courage and a deep abiding faith in the organizational vision. Unlike most established profes-sional associations, as President, I had to carry the heavy burdens of the presidency without even the bare essentials in terms of administrative support system. My administrative staff comprised essentially of my close circle of friends and family that I rely on strictly on availability and ability to help with technical chores.
The required time commitment and a designated location for meeting and planning became incorporated in my own personal daily schedule. Our financial resources and budget projections, virtually non-existent in a resource-constrained AMHE, were derived solely from scarce donations from the same, few die-hard supporters every year. Given these operational constraints, I venture to say that the welfare of the asso-ciation was the main force that drives me to work hard for the preservation of its noble ideals. I therefore salute all my predecessors for their guidance and their advice on how to follow in their footsteps in man-aging this self-sacrificing pledge to serve in such a capacity. Their sharp instincts, generosity and their dedication to service are the main reasons we are still here as an organization.
As a final curtain call before I officially pass the torch to the upcoming president of the Chapter, I want to thank all of you whose cooperation and friendship are now memorialized in my experience as the first female President of the New York chapter. My heartfelt thanks to my close associates and fellow mem-bers. As I now step back into the rank of a regular member, I shall continue to help in whatever ways I can to move the association forward to greater heights. In closing, I would like to publicly recognize someone who has endured the past two years a mixed bag of neglect and short emotional outbursts from me reacting to the stress of the job. Throughout this journey, his encouragement has not only been pas-sive or mere approval, he has been willingly spontaneous, enthusiastic and supportive of my passion for the AMHE. He is my husband, my life’s companion for 30+years, Jacques.
Once again, I thank all of you whose seniority in years of experience has been a great benefit to me dur-ing the past two years. It is my earnest wish that my leaving is not a farewell, but a pledge to count on my steadfast loyalty as an active member of the New York Chapter of the AMHE.
Micheline Lerebours Dole, MD, MPH
President, AMHE New York Chapter