Update on Haiti

Dear Cornellians,

I write to share the heartfelt sympathy and deepest concern of the entire Cornell community for the people of Haiti, including our students, faculty, staff and their families, as well as our colleagues who have been affected by this disaster. Cornell intends to contribute actively to rebuilding life in Haiti, thanks to the many, many offers of help we have already received from our entire community.

University officials have been working around-the-clock just to determine that our students and staff known to be in the country are safe. We have been especially concerned with the conditions at the Haitian Group for the Study of Kaposi's Sarcoma and Opportunistic Infections (GHESKIO), a leading Haitian health clinic in central Port-au-Prince that was founded by Dr. Jean William Pape, a 1975 graduate of Weill Cornell Medical College and one of its distinguished professors of medicine. Faculty and students from Weill Cornell Medical College have been working with the GHESKIO clinic since 1980. Sadly, a number of GHESKIO staff members died in the earthquake; many others are either unaccounted for or homeless; and, the clinical facilities have been severely damaged.

Given the magnitude of the crisis, rescue and relief efforts will remain the immediate focus of the global community's response for some time. However, the world's attention will shift quickly to the even greater challenge of reconstruction of Haiti's basic infrastructure that is so essential to a successful return to normal life. To this end, we have begun to consider how Cornell University can draw on the extraordinary expertise and goodwill across our institution - so evident during the New Orleans crisis - to contribute in a meaningful way to the reconstruction process. In the days ahead, I look forward to informing you on such initiatives as they coalesce.

In the meantime, if you wish to help, I recommend that you support reliable organizations that are active today in Haiti. In particular, the Weill Cornell Medical College is serving as a conduit to direct funds to GHESKIO for emergency relief efforts in Haiti. For information, visit Weill Cornell's Global Health Web site. Their efforts depend on your goodwill.

I am grateful to all who have already begun to help our colleagues and neighbors in Haiti.


David J. Skorton