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Dr. Megan Coffee is a doctor and nonprofit director from the United States. She began working in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti after the devastating earthquake in 2010 that left hundreds of thousands dead and many more injured. She works there without pay and raises money to support medical services. She founded the Ti Kay Clinic in 2010, focusing on daily health maintenance and caring for patients with HIV and tuberculosis.

Early Life and Education

Megan Coffee was born in 1977. She attended Columbia High School and was a Star-Ledger Scholar.[1]

Dr. Megan Coffee’s interests in infectious disease and her exposure to nonprofit medical clinics through Partners in Health began at Harvard and greatly assisted her later efforts in Haiti.

She received a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Harvard University in 1998. She then pursued a doctorate in Mathematical Models from the University of Oxford in England and received her Ph.D. in 2001.[2]

Dr. Coffee's doctoral work in mathematical models investigated the spread of the HIV epidemic in southern Africa.[3]After graduation, she enrolled in Harvard Medical School and received an MD/Ph.D. degree in 2005.[4] The joint MD/Ph.D. came from her admission to the Irving M. London Society at Harvard. Students interested in pursuing a career in biomedical research and medicine enrolled in classes at both Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[5] Dr. Coffee studied under Dr. Paul Farmer, who founded the international health aid organization Partners in Health.[6]

Dr. Coffee completed her medical residency in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital from 2005 to 2008. She applied to become an Infectious Disease Fellow at the University of California - San Francisco from 2008 to 2010. She became an Affiliate at the University of California - Berkley in the Center for Infectious Disease and Emergency in 2010. She began working in 2013 as an affiliated faculty member at the University of Colorado - Denver, in their Center for Global Heath and the Colorado School of Public Health, and Rush University Medical Center in their Department of Internal Medicine.[7]

The Earthquake in Haiti

On January 12, 2010, at 4:53pm local time, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck with its epicenter in Léogâne, about 16 miles from Port-au-Prince, Haiti. An article published in the Journal Medicine, Conflict and Survival estimated death tolls between 135,000-180,000 people. [8]

The Haitian government also estimated around 250,000 homes and 30,000 businesses were destroyed. Many clinics and hospitals were also destroyed, leaving a huge gap in medical care for the hundreds of thousands of injured.[9]

Ti Kay, Inc.

Dr. Megan Coffee established her first tuberculosis clinic in January 2010, serving three patients with only a tent and a single Haitian nurse.

Dr. Megan Coffee continues to serve her patients in Haiti no matter the obstacles or circumstances.

The clinic operated and expanded over four years to become a tuberculosis and HIV outpatient clinic and an inpatient critical care unit called Ti Kay, meaning “little house” in Haitian Creole. Reconstruction forced it to close in 2014 after serving more than 4,500 patients. This left Port-Au-Prince with no inpatient facility to treat tuberculosis patients. A local hospital currently provides a small space to allow Ti Kay to continue outpatient care.

As a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, Ti Kay continues to fundraise to support Dr. Coffee’s patients and to build an inpatient clinic. They also train oxygen technicians, nurses, medical data entry staff, and community health care workers from the local area to work with Ti Kay. Many of their trained staff were once patients of Ti Kay or are patients’ family members. They provide all services at no cost, including managing oxygen, total patient care and support, and an education program informing patients and the community about tuberculosis care and prevention.[10]

Time Magazine Article

Dr. Megan Coffee wrote an article for Time Magazine on January 14, 2016. They list her as a “technical advisor for West Africa at the International Rescue Committee.” The title of the article is “The ‘Ebola-Free’ Label Could Be Dangerous.” She addresses her concerns regarding calling an area “Ebola-Free” since the virus never truly disappears and this recent event was simply the first to receive global attention. She calls for the public to not forget its existence and the need to create long-term goals for containing and treating Ebola.[11]

Cultural Recognition

Dr. Megan Coffee features in many articles around the world that detail her generosity and work in Haiti.[12][13] She appears in two books written in the aftermath of the earthquake. plays a large role in Amy Wilentz’s Farewell, Fred Voodoo: A Letter from Haiti and a smaller one in Jonathan M. Katz’s The Big Truck that Went By: How the World Came to Save Hait and Left Behind a Disaster.[14][15]

References

Bibliography


Braun, B. (2013, January 13). Braun: Modest Doctor Makes Major Difference in Haiti. NJ.com.

Coffee, M. (2016). Megan Coffee - Infectious Disease MD, Ph.D. LinkedIn.

Global Emergency Relief. (2014). Megan Coffee. Global Emergency Relief. 
Ti Kay, Inc. (2014). Megan Coffee, MD, Ph.D. Ti Kay, Inc.

Footnotes

  1. Braun, 2013
  2. Coffee, 2016
  3. Global Emergency Relief, 2014
  4. Coffee, 2016
  5. Harvard Medical School. (2016). Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology (HST). Harvard Medical School.
  6. Global Emergency Relief, 2014
  7. Coffee, 2016
  8. Kolbe, A. R.,… Muggah, R. (2010). Mortality, crime and access to basic needs before and after the Haiti earthquake: A random survey of port-au-prince households. Medicine, Conflict and Survival, 26(4), 281–297. doi:10.1080/13623699.2010.535279
  9. Renois, C. (2010, February 4). Haitians angry over slow aid. The Age.
  10. Ti Kay, Inc., 2014
  11. Coffee, M. (2016, January 14). The “Ebola free” Label Could be Dangerous. Time, Inc.
  12. Braun, 2013
  13. Bora, M. (2015, November 19). Inspirational People - Dr. Megan Coffee, a shining star in the healthcare world. AchhiKhabre Positive News | Motivational Stories.
  14. Wilentz, A. (2013). Farewell, Fred Voodoo: A Letter from Haiti. United States: Simon & Schuster.
  15. Katz, J. M. (2013). The Big Truck that Went By: How the World Came to Save Hait and Left Behind a Disaster. United Kingdom: Palgrave MacMillan.

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