Hiccups in Hispaniola: What socioeconomic factors led to differences in the health care and poverty level in Hispaniola?

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Wayne Brouwer, Hope College
Dr. Charles Green, Hope College
Professor Vanessa Greene, Hope College
Professor Amy Otis - De Grau, Hope College
Professor John Yelding, Hope College

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The island of Hispaniola is inhabited by two juxtaposed yet very different nations. Initially a Spanish colony, the wealthier nation of France gained control over the western side forming the nations of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. A long history of struggle in Haiti compared to the relatively more passive history of the Dominican Republic propagated the economic and cultural differences between the two. Many of these socioeconomic factors resulted in the current situation, which is characterized by differences in poverty levels as well as health care. After analyses of the past history, the current problems facing the Caribbean countries, and the input of current and past residents, we formulated possible solutions to the economic situation, especially health care. Better communication between doctors and the governments, more effort from the governments to stop internal corruption, higher standards of education within Hispaniola, more foreign language classes offered to students, and a slowing of the deforestation rate are all ways to improve the current disparity among the island’s residents.

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