About Us: HISTORY

Message from Health through Walls' Founder & President, John P. May, MD

Since 2001, Health through Walls (HtW) has built a team of experts, volunteers and staff to provide technical assistance and direct services to the prison health program of many low-income countries. We have active programs in Haiti, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Malawi. We have provided consultation and support to the prison systems of Tanzania, Rwanda, Kenya, South Africa, Ghana and Romania. Due to our unique experience, expertise, and successes, requests for assistance have been received from nations across the world. We are building partnerships and increasing our capacity to respond.

We partner with universities, medical and nursing schools, international and local not-for-profits (NGOs) and government offices, individual medical professionals, and UNAIDS to further the medical, legal and human rights of prisoners, and to assist in oversight and analysis of our work providing health care to prisoners.

We work with corrections administrations, the United Nations Department of Peace Keeping Operations and U.S Department of State for better prison healthcare operations. The goal always remains to create sustainable and replicable health care services within each country.

We value the support of our colleagues at the American Correctional Association and International Corrections and Prison Association. In 2010, Iota Theta Phi Fraternity® joined us to bring more volunteers and talent.

Throughout all of the challenges and growth, our volunteers and donors continue to believe in our cause and effectiveness. None of our progress is possible without them. We are grateful for the generosity and financial support of family, friends, and long-term sponsors such as Armor Correctional Health Services, the Gilead Foundation and USAID/Haiti. We are careful stewards of each donation, grant or offer of assistance.

The health of prisoners around the world has consequence for all of us. Infectious diseases respect neither the borders of prison walls, nor the borders of national shores. Adequate prisoner health not only controls infectious disease, but also contributes to safe, secure, and humane institutions - part of establishing a society of justice, prosperity and peace. We are proud of the steady progress toward that end, and our role in improving life for individuals and communities.

John P. May, MD, Founder & President

   

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HtW and partner health organizations interview prisoners on their medical history as part of health screenings of 8,000 prisoners at La Victoria Penitentiary in the Dominican Republic. Project started in September 2014 and aims to finish HIV, tuberculosis and health screenings within months.


Attorney Maurice D. Geiger, Director of the Rural Justice Center, and volunteer Pablo Ros (Harvard Law School student at time of photo) provided important legal component to HtW health screenings in some of Haiti's national prisons. Prisoners had opportunity to speak with attorneys who were able to successfully address some of the legal problems raised.


In 2012, HtW contributed slides to the XIX International AIDS Conference opening session presentation within the framework of the meeting theme: Turning the Tide.

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