Yves Vilton is a Fulbright scholar with a degree in Regulatory and Clinical Research from Regis College. While at Regis College, he participated in the Regis College Haiti Project to help relief efforts in his home country of Haiti. Today, Vilton is the Senior Technical Advisor in the Management Services for the Health Department at the State University of Haiti.
“Today is the best day of my life,” Fulbright Scholar, Yves Vilton, announces while standing on the front lawn of Regis College’s campus. Dressed in his graduation robes, Vilton can’t help but smile. “Today is the best day of my life because today I get my diploma.”
Born in rural Haiti to a large family of twelve children, Vilton learned early on that education was the answer to achieving a successful future.
“With education, everything is possible,” Vilton states, a mantra he learned from his mother.
Despite being unable to read, and despite her family’s limited access to educational resources, Vilton’s mother encouraged all of her children to learn how to read and to pursue a higher level education. Fueled by his mother’s determination, Vilton, at the young age of ten, left his childhood home to attend school in Haiti’s capital. While in school, Vilton did not let any obstacle keep him from enhancing his knowledge, sometimes even resorting to the light of a candle to read his textbooks when he could no longer afford to pay the electricity bill.
Vilton would go on to receive a Bachelor’s degree in Pharmaceutical Studies from the State University of Haiti. In the years that followed, Vilton taught at his alma mater, worked as the Health and Supply Chain Manager for Catholic Relief Services, the Head of the Pharmacy Department at the State University of Haiti and as a Pharmacist for a World Health Organization project.
But Vilton wanted to do more.
In 2010, Haiti experienced a devastating earthquake that contributed to the country’s pre-existing poverty and caused a massive death toll. Vilton, saddened by the lack of resources and national assistance, decided that he needed to take action and help the people of his country.
“Stop everything,” Vilton told himself. “Stop your job, stop your work and now go get more knowledge, then go back to try and change the system… I need to have a better education to help my people, to be able to help my country.”
Vilton approached the Dean from the State University of Haiti and asked how he may be able to further his education in Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research in the United States. The Dean directed Vilton to Laspau. After being granted the scholarship, Laspau matched Vilton with the Regulatory and Clinical Research Management Program at Regis College in Massachusetts, where he received a full waiver of tuition.
“I need to have a better education to help my people, to be able to help my country.”
Although far from home, Vilton was still able to help his country by participating in the Regis College Haiti Project, a program in collaboration with the Haitian Ministry of Health, the nonprofit Partners in Health, and with private and public nursing school leaders in Haiti, that trains nurses and aims to advance nursing education in Haiti.
“Laspau and Fulbright want you to do your best, to use all the potential you have,” Vilton explains as fellow graduates walk across the lawn behind him. “They want you to learn from a big university, a prestigious university here in the United Sates and they want you to do the best that you can and go back. And I promise, I will go back and do my best to use what I have learned.”
Today, Vilton is doing just that. As Senior Technical Advisor in the Management Sciences for Health Department at the State University of Haiti, Vilton manages the family planning project of Supply Chain Management Systems (SCMS) by providing technical expertise and leadership.
Watch our interview with Yves Vilton