Dr. Stephanie Desgrottes: Helping children in Haiti and Harlem
Demetria Irwin | 5/28/2015, 10:50 a.m.
Special to the AmNews
Dr. Stephanie Desgrottes is a pediatrician at Columbia Doctors, but her work with children and the community at large does not stop once she leaves her tiny patients for the day. Desgrottes also regularly visits Haiti, her family’s homeland, to offer her services to those in need.
“I generally pick a different project to work with every time I go to Haiti,” said the Long Island native. “Earlier this spring, I was in Haiti working with children at the Henry Gerald Desgranges Medical Center. It was a collaborative effort with a team led by Dr. David Cutler from UCLA’s Global Health Center. We saw over 200 patients.” According to Desgrottes, some people travelled up to two hours to reach the center and still others were seeing a doctor for the very first time. Her sister Dr. Tania Desgrottes is the executive director of the center.
Desgrottes’ interest in medicine started when she was a child. As the daughter of a medical assistant and an internist, Desgrottes was exposed to medicine and community service early in her life. She, her sister and several other family members have become medical doctors.
While completing her undergraduate degree at Columbia University, Desgrottes honed in on her love of pediatrics. “I volunteered with a program called Project Health. Specifically, I worked with adolescents in Harlem and the Bronx who had sickle cell. I really got to see how their illness impacted their everyday lives, and I knew that wanted to do whatever I could to help children,” said the 31-year-old Harlem resident.
After graduating from Columbia, Desgrottes attended the Morehouse School of Medicine. “It was good to be in a smaller, more intimate setting for medical school, and it was also a bonus that I gained experience in urban and rural locations because of how the Atlanta metro area is situated. I really appreciated my time there,” said Desgrottes.
The good doctor is working on a mobile app with technologist and concept developer Charles Desselle. The app, which would target underserved communities, would help people predict and monitor health outcomes. It is not intended to replace the service and advice of medical professionals in person, but rather to provide another way to stay connected and aware of one’s health. Desgrottes and Desselle are looking for partners and investors to help launch the app.
When not serving children or using technology to connect communities with health care, Desgrottes likes to do yoga, row, play the violin and explore her Harlem neighborhood.