Advocate, leader at hospital in Haiti to retire from board

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For decades, Ian Rawson and his wife Lucy worked tirelessly on behalf of the people of Haiti -- he at the Hopital Albert Schweitzer, which was founded by his stepfather William Larimer Mellon in 1956, she at the Friends of Hopital Albert Schweitzer Haiti, which has been planting trees on the deforested hillsides of that earthquake-ravaged country.

Now, Mr. Rawson, 75, is retiring from the hospital’s board, effective immediately, even as the organization announced it will receive a $150,000 grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation to increase awareness and improve marketing in the hospital’s Pittsburgh office.

“I’m 75 years old and I’m not quite decrepit, but it was time to pass the baton on to younger people, “ said Mr. Rawson, who is currently teaching a course in Chatham University’s sustainability program. “The hospital is in excellent shape, it’s financially solid, it has a wide support base in Pittsburgh and elsewhere.”

Mrs. Rawson is continuing her work with the Friends of Hopital Albert Schweitzer Haiti, he added.

Mr. Rawson, a Squirrel Hill resident, had been involved with the hospital since he was a youth, when his mother, Gwendolyn Grant Rawson, married Mr. Mellon, and the two went to Haiti to found the hospital. Eventually Mr. Rawson became board chair and spent two years as managing director of the hospital after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. He was succeeded in 2012 by current CEO Louis Martin.

“Ian has made significant contributions to the mission of HAS,” said the hospital’s board chair John Walton, nephew of Mr. Mellon. “We appreciate his many years of service.”

He noted that under Mr. Rawson’s leadership, the hospital won a highly competitive $700,000 grant in 2012 from the United States Agency for International Development. The grant will help fund the renovation and expansion of the hospital’s inpatient and emergency room facilities.

The hospital, which was founded in 1956 by Mr. Mellon, is located in the rural midsection of Haiti 90 miles north of Port-au-Prince, the country’s capital. With a mission to improve public health in surrounding communities, it runs not only a hospital but four community health centers and mobile clinics that serve a population of more than 350,000 people.

The hospital is the only one in the region that provides life-saving surgery and other critical care.


Mackenzie Carpenter, mcarpenter@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1949 or on Twitter @MackenziePG.

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