CRUDEM, an acronym for (Center for the Rural Development of Milot) was founded in 1968 by the Brothers of the Sacred Heart of the Montreal Province. By 1983 the Brothers had built roads, schools, wells and several co-operative ventures. The people were desperately in need of healthcare services and so in 1986, the Brothers constructed a hospital — Hôpital Sacré Coeur. However, they had an operating room without any equipment and no surgeon.
Around the same time, Dr. Ted Dubuque, a surgeon from St. Louis, Missouri had a near-fatal illness. He promised God that if he recovered he would spend the rest of his life helping others.
Dr. Dubuque had a complete recovery and true to his word he decided to volunteer in the missions. In 1986, Dr. Dubuque traveled to Hôpital Sacré Coeur. He spent 6 months there and performed 250 surgeries during that first visit.
Dr. Dubuque’s family and local community rallied around his efforts. A close friend, St. Louis businessman, Carlos Reese, led the initiative to fully outfit the operating room. With enormous enthusiasm, Dubuque, Reese and the St. Louis community fueled an amazing grassroots movement. Over the next two decades, against overwhelming odds and in the face of major challenges, the hospital developed from an eight bed clinic to a premier Haitian healthcare facility, now supported by several thousand donors and volunteers from around the world.
In 1993, the CRUDEM Foundation assumed operating control of the hospital and was became a 501(c)(3) corporation. In 1999, CRUDEM and Hôpital Sacré Coeur was included as “100 Projects of the Holy Father for the Year of Charity, 1999″ by Pope John Paul II. In 2004, the foundation moved their headquarters to Ludlow, Massachusetts.
For most of the last twenty-three years, Dr. Dubuque has returned to Hôpital Sacré Coeur as a surgeon, administrative advisor and devoted friend of the Haitian people. The spouses, children and grandchildren of Dubuque and Reese continue to serve the foundation and hospital with infectious enthusiasm and vision. Today, as word spreads about Hôpital Sacré Coeur and the needs of the people in Haiti, more and more people, both medical and non-medical, express an interest in helping and becoming involved.