Growing up in a middle class family in Chicago, Dr. David Walton saw extreme poverty first hand while traveling in South America and Africa. In 1998, while at Harvard Medical School he met Paul Farmer, founder of Partners In Health (PIH), who introduced him to PIH’s work in Haiti.
“Being a doctor is a privilege,” Walton says. And it’s a privilege that Walton takes seriously. Having worked in Haiti with PIH for 15 years, he will soon open one of the largest and most advanced teaching hospitals in the country – one that will be owned and run by Haitians themselves.
Motivated by the possibility of change, Walton has worked to expand the range of medical services and education to rural Haiti, especially in the years following the devastating earthquake in 2010. A huge influx of money and resources followed the earthquake, but the centralized nature of the aid hampered its effectiveness. In his talk, Dr. Walton explains both how and why the nature of governmental and non-governmental aid must shift in order to meet the needs of the nation.
“This slow process is steadily moving forward, and will only become faster as people see the success of public-private partnerships, such as ours with the Haitian government.” With the construction of a brand new teaching hospital almost complete, Walton says, “The proof is in the pudding.”