In 2000, a group of Portland, Maine health care professionals, business people, and other interested parties met to discuss their shared desire to work on building a sustainable health system in a community somewhere in the developing world. Many in the group previously had been involved with international programs and wanted to contribute their energy and resources to address the issue of health inequity.
In 2001, these founding board members established the Greater Portland International Health Initiative as a non-profit organization. Their vision was to partner with an existing public health system in an underserved community whose citizens had limited access to health care.
The founding board members considered communities in countries around the world. In 2001, a Haitian doctor doing his residency at Maine Medical Center in Portland, Maine told them about Cap-Haitian, Haiti. Following a May 2001 site visit to Cap-Haitien, in November 2001, they formally established a partnership with Justinian University Hospital ( JUH) in Cap-Haitien, the second largest teaching hospital in Haiti. In 2002, to more acurately reflect our mission, the Board of Directors changed the name from Greater Portland International Health Initiative to Konbit Sante Cap-Haitian Health Partnership.