Black History Month carries a great deal of significance for me. I am the product of two nations. I was born and raised in Haiti and moved to the United States, settling in Chicago, at the age of 17. I am mindful not only of the individuals who played a role in America’s history, but also of those individuals from my home country of Haiti, who influenced black history as well. Black History Month is a time for me to celebrate the strength, greatness and lives of every individual whose sacrifices made my ability to achieve success possible. They were visionaries who proved that no matter how impossible the odds, overcoming them was indeed possible.
I grew up in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and from a very young age I knew that I wanted to be a doctor. The odds however, were against me. When I moved to the United States, I had to take an English proficiency exam. I failed miserably. As a result, my advisor suggested that I select another career. The counselor was right about my English abilities at the time, but not about me. I earned a medical degree from the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine and went on to earn an MBA and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Miami. I am also a retired Airforce Colonel and flight surgeon, having served for 21 years in the US Airforce Reserve.
I define success on my own terms, but I live by these simple words – success is nothing unless you reach back and help those less fortunate. It is how I honor the sacrifices of African/Black Americans and my Haitian countrymen.
In order for me to go to medical school, I applied for a scholarship that would require me to work in underserved areas once I graduated. They gave me a few choices, but I knew that I wanted to work in Miami. Back in the early seventies, there were a lot Haitian and Cuban refugees coming into the South Florida community and I knew that I could make a difference in their lives. I worked for the Borinquen Medical Center for four years. At the end of my contract, I had an opportunity to return to the Chicago area, but my desire was to remain in Miami and continue my work here. I began to build a small private practice focusing on family medicine and pain management. Today, Comprehensive Health Center, Inc., has offices in Miami-Dade and Broward counties and an office in Central Florida. I am looking to do more for my community by building a multi-purpose medical facility that will allow me to expand my practice to include eye and dental exams. I really enjoy seeing my patients and I want to do that for as long as I can.
I am proud of my involvement with Jackson Health Foundation, where I now serve as Chairman of the Board of Directors. The Foundation serves as the fundraising arm of the health system and our role is to generate awareness, draw support, and provide adequate resources for Jackson’s areas of greatest need. In fact, we just celebrated 25 years of supporting Jackson during our Golden Angels Gala last month.
I have been involved with the Foundation for several years now, but I first came to know of the organization while receiving medical training at Jackson and through my relationship with Carlos Migoya. Carlos and I have a great relationship having served on his board when he was president of First Union Bank. I have tremendous respect for him and the work he has done to stabilize our health system.
Nearly a century ago, it was said that only poor people were treated at Jackson. Today, people from around the world seeking quality medical care come to Jackson. It does not matter if you are rich, poor, young, old, black, white, Hispanic or Haitian – everyone truly does receive the same standard of care.
Like our community, Jackson continues to evolve. It is immensely rewarding to be a part of a health system committed to helping everyone in our community. Equally so, it is an honor to be of service in leading the organization charged with raising the funding necessary to ensure that Jackson is poised to meet the needs of the communities around us.
Dr. Rudolph Moise, DO, MBA, J.D.
Jackson Health Foundation