As a sports team and University Health Services physician, Pierre Rouzier believes in being a role model for UMass Amherst students. To that end, he spent a week in Haiti, volunteering to educate doctors, medical students, athletic trainers, and first responders in sports medicine. “My line to students is that it’s important what you do in the community, and the world is your community,” he explains.
Rouzier and six other members of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine led Haiti’s first sports medicine conference held June 29-July 3 in Port-au-Prince and jointly sponsored with the Haitian Olympic Committee. “I came back knowing I made a difference. By teaching the teachers we were perpetuating knowledge,” says Rouzier.
The conference had four components: a demonstration of musculoskeletal ultrasound-guided and surgical procedures; lectures on sports medicine for medical students; lectures on topics such as concussion and pre-participation screenings for cardiac problems, and clinics with Haitian physicians treating patients. “We had rooms full of students asking questions and intently interested in learning,” Rouzier says.
He says the goal of the conference was to train primary care physicians and others to help both professional and recreational athletes avoid injuries, diagnose injuries, and treat them back to good health. Haiti is an island of avid soccer fans and players and Rouzier says that expanding the knowledge base will be put to good use.
This was Rouzier’s second humanitarian trip to Haiti, his father’s birthplace. He joined other medical providers who rushed to help the 2010 earthquake victims. “It’s important for me to be a role model, whether to students who want to be doctors or students who want to find their way in life,” he says.