MCC Haiti alumna to lead disaster recovery efforts
By Linda Espenshade
Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Haiti alumna Dr. Susanne Bradley Brown – a pediatrician and healthcare legislation analyst from Albuquerque, N.M. – will lead MCC’s long-term disaster response to the Haiti earthquake.
As MCC’s new Haiti disaster coordinator, Brown will be responsible for strategic planning and implementation of MCC Haiti’s disaster response plan. During her three-year term, she and MCC partners, workers, local staff, churches and others will work with Haitians who are rebuilding their lives.
“There are lots of opinions to be heard, inside and outside of Haiti, as we work at the wisest and best response to the earthquake,” says Daryl Yoder-Bontrager, area director for Latin America and the Caribbean. “Sue will be able to help pull those opinions together and lead the MCC Haiti team as it continues to formulate and carry out a strong MCC recovery program.”
As a doctor, Brown has worked in Haiti with MCC, starting in 1974-1978 as director of Hospital Grand Riviere du Nord. In 1986-1988 she was a physician at Hospital Mombin Crochu. The experience has given her “a familiarity with the rhythm of the culture,” she says.
Throughout her career as a physician and university professor, Brown has worked with health care organizations that represent people who are homeless, Native American women, children of incarcerated parents and people with mental illness.
Brown, who is a member of Albuquerque Mennonite Church, is currently employed as a healthcare and social services policy analyst for the New Mexico Senate. In this position, she also is working to protect the needs of people whose voices are not always heard.
Brown was interested in leading MCC’s disaster response in Haiti because she wanted to be part of a team that could develop a creative response to the crisis, as well as the ongoing chronic problems Haiti faces. Although healthcare, nutrition and potable water are issues, she’s keenly aware that the disaster response also could include small business development, healing of emotional trauma, construction projects or a range of other ideas.
“I look forward to figuring out how MCC’s partners, the Haitian government and nongovernmental organizations can work together,” Brown says.
Brown will join MCC’s assessment team in Haiti, beginning Feb. 22, as the team assesses the situation and makes recommendations about MCC’s mid-term and long-term disaster response plan. Her assignment will begin in early April.