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Uploaded:2010-12-18
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John & Hank Green interview Meryl Glassman of Partners In Health during Project for Awesome 2010.
John: And we're back! Hi! It's us, the Vlogbrothers, again!

Hank: And we're here with Meryl Glassman of Partners in Health.

Meryl: Hi!

John: Hi Meryl. Um, so uh, we don't wanna brag (Meryl laughs)-

Hank: Yeah, we got you-

Meryl: Brag away!

Hank: We got you a plane one time.

John: We got you a plane one time.

Meryl: You did!

John: No big deal! But the SS-DFTBA- (Meryl laughs) uh, Partners in Health worked with- with our community, the Nerdfighters and with the Harry Potter Alliance really closely on the Helping Haiti Heal project. And that was a huge thing for our community, and a really wonderful thing in Hank and I's life-

Hank: Yeah, and just sort of a wake-up call for like, how um, online communities can get together and organize to do really big things! I had no idea that so many people-

Meryl: And it was a big thing!

Hank: Yeah!

Meryl: You know, you got an entire plane full of supplies into Haiti at a time when it was really difficult to move things into the country, so I can't say how grateful we are to you and to Helping Hands Haiti.

Hank: And- well, I mean-

John: Technically, uh, you got the plane into Haiti.

Hank: Right, also- and also- we didn't pay for it.

John: (laughing) Yeah, no!

Hank: You guys did!

John: You guys did!

(Hank and John laugh)

John: So thanks to you!

Meryl: So thank you very much! (John laughs)

Hank: Um. So tell us a little bit about Partners in Health and what-

Meryl: Sure!

Hank: -you do with Partners in Health and what Partners in Health does.

Meryl: So my role with Partners in Health is West Coast Outreach Manager, so I basically work with donors and supporters all throughout the West Coast and the Pacific North West... Making sure that they have information about what we're doing, that any questions they have are answered. You know, we really wanna educate people about who we are as an organization and the things that are important to us and the communities we're serving.

Meryl: And what Partners in Health does is, at our heart, we're a social justice and healthcare organization. And we started with Haiti about twenty years ago. We started with a tiny little two-room clinic in one of the poorest towns in Haiti, and in the past twenty years, we've grown to work in more than ten community health centers and hospitals in Haiti, and also expanded to eleven other countries around the world. And as part of that work, we do provide great healthcare services. We try to provide the same healthcare that anyone in the United States would have access to, in these very, very poor places. And you might think, well why is a healthcare organization part of a segment on poverty? Well, you know, what we've learned is that poverty is the greatest determinate of poor health.

John: Right.

Meryl: And so not only do we try to provide great healthcare to people, but we try to provide economic and social opportunities that will help lift these communities out of poverty. We have about 13,000 employees worldwide, and the vast majority of them - more than 99% - are local people that we've hired and trained, from within the communities that we've served. So it's incredibly important to us to stand in solidarity with these communities.

Meryl: You know, for example, our work in Haiti - we're not just an organization working in Haiti. We are at heart a Haitian organization. We have more than 5,000 employees there. And when the earthquake struck, the reason that we were able to respond so quickly and fully is because the people that we were responding to were the family and friends and colleagues and the community of our employees there. So people wanted to help, and we were very glad to be able to do that.

John: Yeah. That's so awesome.

Hank: It's- sometimes it's easy to forget that it goes both ways. Where you have poverty- makes it very difficult to stay healthy, but being sick also makes it very difficult to remove yourself from poverty.

Meryl: Absolutely. It's very hard to work when you're sick, it's hard to take care of your family, um- that's a great point.

John: Well let's uh, let's watch a video!

Meryl: Great!

John: Then we'll come back and talk about calls to action.

(video begins) (3:34)

(4:21) Alison: There really wasn't much rehabilitative medicine to speak of prior to the earthquake. And so now Zanmi Lasante is committed to putting together a rehabilitation service that is absolutely community-based. So people like Carmene are trained and hired to be community healthcare workers, and they go out into the community and accompany people who need physical therapy and rehabilitative medicine.