Tomorrow is the first night of the 2017 Health Bridges International Bridge to Change Benefit at Portland's famous Andina Restaurant. This is our 8th year hosting the event at Andina and we are very proud to be partnering with the Rodriguez de Platt family. Their generosity and support have been a huge help to HBI over the years.
In preparation for the event, I've been reading through old journals from my trips to Latin America I have journals dating back almost 20-years. One journal I read this afternoon reminded me how far we, HBI, have come in our work. At that time, my vision was to develop an organization that could bring direct care to the most underserved communities in Peru. A noble proposition at that time, but nearly an obsolete idea in the modern context. The challenges of inequity and unequal access to health and social support services will not be addressed through teams "parachuting" into low and middle income countries. No, the real meaningful lasting change will come from building partnerships and cultivating the next generation of change agents.
A number of years ago, we realized the need for foreign driven international outreach was no longer viable or responsible. We started building connections with in-country professionals (physicians, dentists, nurses, midwives, etc.) and now staff all of our "outreach" is conducted with in-country staff only. We realized the lasting impact of our efforts comes from training in-country health professionals, empowering the next generation of change makers, working alongside underserved communities to craft their own models and mechanisms to address their challenges, and cultivating relationships that bring together resources to create a "sum of the parts" impact.
This shift - from doing, to helping, to organizing, to cultivating - has been a long and very challenging adventure. We've learned a great deal from our efforts. Most of all - we've learned the key to our success is collaboration.
The next chapter of our journey is just beginning. Tomorrow night will provide an opportunity for me to reflect on where we have been and describe where we are going. I am excited for the future and I look forward to building this future with all of our partners. Thank you for your continued support of HBI.
The HBI Blog is a rotating journal from our staff. Our Blog is a series of messages from the field, insights from our work, and lessons in service.