About Us

Our Mission Statement:
Sante Total, which means “Total Health” in Haitian Kreyol, aims to provide sustainable healthcare to rural communities in the Central Plateau region of Haiti.  We believe you can only improve health through eradicating the disease of poverty. The Sante Total approach considers the entire person- physical health, well-being, education, and employment, to be essential to health and quality of life.

Our History:
Gabriel Thelus is a prominent community leader who was born and raised in Jacsonville (formerly Matabonite) in the northeast region of the Central Plateau in Haiti. The son of a poor Haitian farmer, Thelus attended Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., through the efforts of Brother Cosmas Rubencamp, an Xaverian brother, David Goy and St. Mary’s Church in Blacksburg. He received an associate’s degree in agronomy in 1994. Following graduation, he returned to Haiti to fulfill his father’s dream of improving the living conditions of the people in his home village. Under the leadership and hard work of Thelus and local Haitians, they completed building the first chapel; St. Rose de Lima Catholic Grade School; a bridge; and a mission house. A medical clinic is now in the construction phases.

In 2007, Alison Smith, an undergraduate at Virginia Tech, visited Jacsonville on a student volunteer trip led by Brother Cosmas and met Thelus. Impressed by the good work he was accomplishing in his village, despite poverty and lack of essential health care, Smith thought of ways to provide support to the people.

After graduating from Virginia Tech the same year, Smith enrolled in the MD/PhD program at Tulane Medical School in New Orleans, La. In March 2009, she organized a medical relief team with physicians, residents and medical students. Volunteers provide quarterly visits to Jacsonville with donated medical supplies and treat patients in a temporary health clinic.

Following the destruction and devastation in Haiti in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, the need for healthcare for the people of Jacsonville and surrounding communities became more imminent with concerns of cholera and the spread of disease. During this time, Smith’s vision for permanent healthcare for the community led to the founding of Sante Total, meaning “total health” in Haitian Kreyol.

Sante Total, a charitable healthcare organization comprised of Tulane medical students and physicians, collaborates with Thelus to administer healthcare and support to people in local communities located in the Central Plateau. In 25 trips, they have treated 10,000 patients.

With the current construction of a medical facility underway in Jacsonville, Smith is hopeful that a transition to local medical staff by the relief team will establish permanent healthcare for the people.