The origins of Forward in Health go back to 2001 as a result of a visit to Sacred Heart parish in Gardner, MA by Sister Theresita Donach who worked with the Diocese of Worcester's Haitian Apostolate. Motivated by her presentation, Dr. Mulqueen and volunteers first visited Les Cayes to provide medical care that year. Each year since both Dr. Mulqueen and his wife Paula, a registered nurse, have made separate medical missions to Haiti.
John and Paula were always troubled by the temporary nature of their medical aide to Haiti. What happened to these same people when they left? Because the Haitian Apostolate’s focus was primarily on parish-to-parish twinning and an adopt a student program, the Mulqueens and the Haitian Apostolate parted ways as the Mulqueens focused on the need for a permanent medical presence in Haiti. With the change John and Paula founded Forward in Health in 2006.
For the next several years, doctors, nurses, and non-medical volunteers of Forward in Health have been hosting annual missions to Haiti 2-3 times per year. They have provided health care to the poor in a community that has limited to no local access to medical care. They've brought medicine, basic medical supplies and building materials for a nursing home and helped with Mother Teresa's Sisters of Charity. Volunteers have held, fed and comforted orphans that might not be held otherwise. They've sanded and refinished beds for nursing homes and they've made lasting relationships with residents. However, those visits, which provide some relief for a short period of time, are makeshift at best. The solution was to build a clinic that brings a permanent medical presence to a community that does not have medical care, clean drinking water or preventive health education.
In 2015, after 10 years of construction, a medical clinic was opened. The clinic is fully staffed by Haitian doctors and nurses. Klinik Fonfred is open 6 days per week providing life-saving healthcare to children, adults and expecting women. No one is ever turned away because of their ability to pay. In addition, 500 gallons of clean water is provided to the community each day.
In 2021, the board led by the Mulqueen's retired and FIH was passed on to the next generation.