Corey Gifford is a 2015 graduate of the PsyD Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, New England

Dissertation Committee:

  • Colborn Smith, PhD, Committee Chair
  • Ann Johnson, PsyD, Committee Member
  • David Junno, PsyD, Committee Member


Haiti, Haitian culture, Vodou, CMHC, international community mental health, Multi-disciplinary clinic, RAW Haiti

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Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. Mental health resources are minimal and in need of further development. The goal of this dissertation project was to develop a model for a comprehensive outpatient Community Mental Health Center (CMHC) in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. It was both critical and essential that the development of a CMHC be considered within the sociopolitical and economic context of Haiti. As such, this project first examined relevant information regarding Haitian geography, poverty, government, and culture. Within this context, the impact of the 2010 earthquake was considered. This context was then used to consider relevant literature, as well as my personal and professional experience while working in poverty, health care, and the mental health system in Haiti. The methodological approach informing this project was action research which was specifically used to assist in the development of a culturally sensitive CMHC for a Haitian community. It was intended that, in turn, this would enable a more organic and systematic approach to maintaining long-term wellness for the Haitian people. Important cultural elements and existing mental health services found in my travels are presented to give a texture of what the current context is like in Haiti. The non-profit organization called “RAW Haiti” and its current programs are described. The outpatient CMHC model as a combination of available mental health services, along with additional suggestions for a comprehensive framework are introduced. The purpose of this project was to present the beginning structure of a CMHC in Haiti and how it would be implemented and evaluated. It is expected that on-going development will give birth to continued creation of the comprehensive CMHC, while incorporating integrated care, adaptations to other locations, social justice, and public policy. The appendices provide significant documentation of field notes that are intended to give a clearer and more illustrative picture of those obstacles related to program development in Haiti. It is hoped and anticipated that the development of a CMHC model will enable better wellness and mental health for the Haitian people.


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