The Hastings Center, along with the rest of the world, is horrified by the devastating losses sustained by the people of Haiti from the January 12 earthquake. The Center feels a particular kinship with Haiti, where it has been part of a long-term project to build ethics capacity with the Haitian Group for the Study of Kaposi's Sarcoma and Opportunistic Infections (known by the acronym GHESKIO). The clinic is affiliated with the Weill Cornell Medical College, and the project was funded by the National Institutes of Health John Fogarty International Center.
GHESKIO was started in the early 1980s, when the HIV/AIDS epidemic raged through the Western Hemisphere's poorest nation. GHESKIO is at the center of Haiti’s most devastated area in Port au Prince. Staff at the clinic escaped, but the clinic itself was badly damaged. The Cornell website has posted a letter from Dr. Jean “Bill” Pape, Executive Director of the GHESKIO Centers and Professor of Medicine at Cornell University’s Weill Medical College, about the earthquake and immediate needs. The site also includes directions about how to donate funds for emergency relief efforts.
While the focus at this time should be on the immediate needs for disaster relief, guidance on ethical approaches to public health disaster issues such as triage, rationing, and priority setting can be found in the Center’s backgrounder on Disaster Planning and Public Health.