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Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences

Haitian American Public Health Initiatives (HAPHI)

Nature and Purpose

Haitian American Public Health Initiatives (HAPHI) is a minority run, non-profit agency dedicated to providing members of the Haitian-American community in Metro Boston with culturally and linguistically accessible information and services to improve their health and wellbeing. Located in Mattapan, HAPHI was founded in 1989 by a group of Haitian-American health care professionals to address pressing public health issues confronting Boston's Haitian community. HAPHI has grown tremendously and today provides a comprehensive range of prevention, education, and direct service programs to Haitian-Americans from the greater metropolitan area of Boston. Several of its programs serve Haitian Americans throughout New England. HAPHI's primary service constituents are Haitian-Americans of all ages in the Metropolitan area of Boston. The main neighborhoods served: Mattapan,  Dorchester, Hyde Park, and Milton. Weekly media programs produced by the agency reach a Haitian audience beyond the primary service area and into areas throughout Massachusetts and in Connecticut and Rhode Island. 

HAPHI programs are designed to take into account not only the linguistic needs, but the community structures that reinforce beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. In an effort to assure community members easy access to its direct service programs, HAPHI has also developed mechanisms to deliver most of its services, including HIV education and nutrition, to clients in community settings, such as churches, schools, and homes. Broad-based community education stratagems include: production and broadcast of educational radio and television programs; community outreach and organizing activities; site and community based, small group educational workshops; and, large scale forums and conferences. Because of low literacy rates, radio and television are emphasized over distribution of written material. HAPHI’s radio broadcasts are typically conducted live, and feature call-in segments to facilitate dialogue between HAPHI staff, guest speakers and community members. 

The success of our organization is based on the community participation in the decision making process and our response to the stated needs of the community. Also, critical to HAPHI’s success has been the agency’s ability to develop and maintain linkages with a wide variety of Haitian community groups and service agencies.  Since its inception, HAPHI has worked closely with Haitian church leaders, parent groups, organizers of athletic events, and media personalities to implement and mobilize support for its programs.  HAPHI has cultivated collaborations with local institutions, such as schools, health centers and city and neighborhood coalitions to further enhance the delivery of its services.


PULSE students will serve as teaching assistants in the English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) class for adult students. PULSE students will also support youth with Autism and/or other developmental disabilities in computer class and particpate in and lead recreation activities.