Here’s how DAHEI is working to reduce educational and health care inequities in Dominica and the Eastern Caribbean.

Health Initiatives

Medical Equipment

Medical Supplies 

Mobile Mammogram

Medical Staff Training

Early Screening and Disease Prevention

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Education Initiatives

High School Scholarships


School/office supplies


Literacy Programs

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Our Mission

Dominican Health and Education Initiative (DAHEI) is a charitable non-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization.

Our mission is to elevate the health and education standards on the island of Dominica and other Eastern Caribbean islands.

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Our Board

Dr. Ann-Marie La Ronde-Richard Ph.D


Dr. Ann-Marie La Ronde-Richard Ph.D was born and raised on the beautiful island of Dominica in the Eastern Caribbean. Like many Dominicans, Dr. La Ronde-Richard migrated from her native island to the U.S to further her education. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from Suffolk University in Boston and then completed her Doctorate in Pathology at Boston University School of Medicine. 

Having fulfilled her educational and career aspirations, Dr. La Ronde-Richard took the next step to fulfill a long-standing desire to create a path for a better life for those who are less fortunate in her native island, Dominica.  This prompted the creation of ‘the Dominican Health and Education Initiative, in partnership with her cousin, Farrah La Ronde-Hutchison. Together, they strive to fulfill a common vision of reducing health and educational insufficiencies and improving the quality of life for individuals, families and communities in their homeland.  

Dr. La Ronde-Richard currently works as Patient Engagement Lead in the Internal Medicine Research Unit at Pfizer in Massachusetts, a role that allows her to serve as a bridge between scientists and patients, ensuring that scientists who are developing innovative therapies for disease can better understand the unmet needs of diverse patient populations and develop therapies that will deliver clinically meaningful outcomes for patients and their families all around the world.

Annette C. Fontaine MD. MBA

Medical Director

Dr Fontaine is a native of the Caribbean Island, Dominica.   In 1999 she graduated from Ross University Medical School.  She continued her education in Medicine at the University of West Virginia in Morgantown where she completed her residency in Internal Medicine in 2002 and fellowship in Hematology/Oncology in 2005.  Dr. Fontaine joined New Mexico Cancer Center in January 2006. She practices at the main site in Albuquerque and satellite clinic in Gallup, NM. Her curiosity in the relationship of genetics and cancer lead her to specialized training at the City of Hope in 2010, earning a certificate in Cancer Genetics.

She has a keen interest in the business of medicine and hence earned a physician executive MBA from the University of Tennessee in 2012.  In January 2017 she was appointed as Chief Medical Officer allowing her among other duties to work on the development of clinical pathways in the management of cancer.

For the last 6 years she has been voted by her peers as the top Hematologist/Oncologist in Albuquerque published in TopDOCS by Albuquerque the Magazine. She became a member of the board of DAHEI in 2019 and is excited to serve in assisting her beloved Dominica.

Dr. Nicole LaRonde

Grant Writer


Dr. Nicole LaRonde spent her early formative years in Dominica, the Nature Island of the Caribbean, where she graduated as valedictorian of her Convent High School class. She learned to love science from reading her father’s extensive science magazine collection and moved to the US to attend Rivier College in Nashua, NH, (now Rivier University) where she majored in Chemistry, with a minor in Biology, and graduated magna cum laude.

She moved to Baltimore to attend the Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology (BCMB) program at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Dr. LaRonde found her love for structural biology as a senior in college. She then moved to the National Cancer Institute Macromolecular Crystallography Laboratory where she pursued a deep interest in ribosome biogenesis and solved the first structures of the atypical RIO kinases, earning the FEBS Journal Research Prize for Young Scientists in 2005. She is now Associate Professor at University of Maryland in College Park, MD, where she has also mentored post-doctoral fellows, graduate, undergraduate, and high school students in research.  Dr. LaRonde understands, first-hand, the struggles of underrepresented minority (URM) scientists in today’s science culture and is strongly committed to the cause of increasing URM representation in science and bringing science to underserved populations. 

Farrah La Ronde-Hutchison



Farrah La Ronde-Hutchison is the founder and CEO of Gaia’s Essence and the founder of the Gaia’s Essence Women’s Wellness Conference. She found a growing disparity in the understanding of how personal health was directly affected by our physical environment and created these platforms to educate women. In 2011 Gaia’s Essence was selected by Whole Foods and became a regional supplier. A selection of their product line was featured as a local partner throughout the tri-state area. The conference originated out of her passion to empower and motivate women in reaching and maintaining their optimum health.
In 2019 she directed her first Docuseries “ Our Voice Our Stories” which captured the stories of five women and how they conquered life’s challenges. In January 2020 she directed her first full length documentary in her home country, Dominica. A captivating story of the interconnectivity of Dominican women and how their lives shaped the evolution of the island over generations. 
Over the years she has been featured in the Long Island Natural Awakening Magazine, interviewed on Verizon Fios, a featured speaker at Dowling College, Guest speaker at the Business of WE Women Entrepreneurship Summit in Manhattan and Keynote speaker at the BeauTea Soiree health event. In 2018 Farrah was included in the top mompreneurs on Long Island by Newsday. Featuring female business owners balancing their role as a mom with her life as an entrepreneur catering to other moms.

Henie Parillon



Henie Parillon Ed. S., is a native of the nature island of the Caribbean, Dominica. He developed a love for science and education at a very early age and pledged to remain a dedicated conduit and support for those navigating those fields. He obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture from the University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago, and returned home to serve in various capacities, including as an educator at his alma mater, and as an agricultural officer supporting crop production for export. His quest for further education led him to complete his Master of Science degree in Food Safety and Food Microbiology at Universiti Putra Malaysia, where he conducted research on the use of herbal extracts to treat foodborne pathogens.

Mr. Parillon then migrated to the United States where he obtained his Master of Arts in Teaching and became a qualified science teacher. He served within the Newark Public Schools system as a lead science, middle and high-school science teacher, and teacher coach for about 10 years before moving onto administration.

Having obtained his Education Specialist (Ed. S) credentials, Mr. Parillon took on the position of Science Supervisor K-12 of the Orange Township Public Schools where he informs curriculum and supports educators as they strive to help scholars construct knowledge. He is currently a doctoral candidate enrolled in the Education Leadership Management and Policy program at Seton Hall University where he seeks to investigate science teachers’ perception of the role of national science standards on student engagement. He joined DAHEI’s Board as he identified with the group’s ambitions and mission to support health education and improve healthcare in the Caribbean region.

Aimee LaRonde

Experienced Critical Care Registered Nurse and owner of DohHavtoCafé, Administrator

I am a Navy veteran who served eight years as a Nuclear Propulsion Plant water chemistry technician. Early in my Navy career, I was selected to be an instructor on Naval Nuclear Propulsion platforms, the genesis of my love for teaching. I supervised more than 50 junior sailors at various commands, learning along the way the importance of good leadership. Through the support of the military, I brought two daughters and one son into the world. My military career ended honorably in 2005, and I moved back to Baltimore, MD where my parents and siblings live. In 2006 I welcomed my last son and started a course of study in Biology at the University of Maryland college park campus. I attained a Bachelor’s degree in 2012 and in 2014, began nursing school at Community College of Baltimore County in Catonsville, MD. I earned an Associate’s degree in nursing in 2017, cutting my nursing teeth in a neurology/stroke, critical care, telemetry monitored unit at St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore, MD. This experience shaped many of my decisions about the direction that my nursing career would follow. I learned that my passion was not in acute care which resembled a rotating door of chronic disease management. I needed to affect real, lasting, change in the lives of my patients, in a way that allows them to participate in and take responsibility for their wellness. Home health delivery is uniquely positioned to empower patients with the knowledge that they need to own their health and wellness. I worked as a field RN for a medium sized home health company for two months and then took a position as clinical manager with the agency. I discovered during my tenure as a clinical manger that my impact was amplified if I could recruit and retain quality clinicians to deliver our unique brand of healthcare. In May 2020, I took a position as the Director of Nursing for a home health and hospice agency in Virginia, while also pursuing a master’s degree in Executive Nurse leadership. As I navigated this new role, I was humbled by the awesome responsibility of running the operations of the agencies while keeping the tenants of my personal mission forefront. The work, although more impactful than hospital based nursing, still was not adequate to create the real change in mindset of our patients that was my goal. I mastered new skills in leadership and management, and in 2021 brought those skills back to Dominica. My approach to health and wellness is based on Dominica’s exemplary primary health care system which holds prevention as its most important tool in population wellness. In an attempt to increase Dominica’s health and nutrition literacy, and in order to introduce and support the idea of wellness, I created the DohHavTo organization. Our aim is to improve the health of the Dominican public, by introducing a new relationship to food, as medicine. The DohHavTo organization also seeks to model sustainable development, create a small business model to serve underprivileged people, and create new and innovative products to support wellness from the bountiful resources of our beautiful island.

Pauline Elwin

Business strategist & leadership consultant, PRO

Dr. Pauline B. Elwin is a strategic communications consultant, leadership coach, researcher, and a transformational leadership powerhouse. Dr. Elwin holds a Doctor of Education degree, EdD. in Organizational Leadership/Business and Consulting as well as a MAALT degree from Northwest University. Dr. Elwin’s research focuses on exploring transformational leadership in the COVID-19 pandemic era in a government organization. As a global thought leader and practitioner, her original research on women in leadership mitigating global crises took her as a doctoral candidate to the Global International Leadership Association Conference in Geneva, Switzerland where she presented with peers on the traits of successful women leaders. Dr. Elwin has also presented on such platforms as Healthcare and Leadership in 2021 and will be presenting at the 6th Annual Women in Leadership Conference on transformative Caribbean “Iron Women” transformational traits, in Portsmouth, United Kingdom in June 2022 as well as an inaugural leadership annual series “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: Stories of Wise Women” also in June of 2022.

Dr. Elwin is from the Commonwealth of Dominica in the eastern Caribbean, the home of the first woman prime minister of the Caribbean, dubbed the iron lady. Inspired by the iron lady, she has navigated ways to encourage, empower and enlist women into more leadership positions and advocate on women’s rights and issues. Dr. Elwin is a champion of the Dissertation Warriors, a multifaceted mentorship community for the doctoral women’s network at Northwest University. Dr. Elwin is a member of the Leadership Management Committee in her government entity. She is a member of the executive leadership board for Leadership and Peace at the International Leadership Association. Dr. Elwin enthusiasm is contagious, and she exudes charisma and drive for leading with change through transformation and has a global passion for transformational leadership. 

Shamina Aubuchon

Immunologist, Author of ‘If you Touch, I’ll Tell’, Educator/Mentor

“Dr. Shamina Aubuchon  earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry and Environmental science. 

From there she spent the next five years at the Jones institute of reproductive medicine, home of the fist successful IVF in the U.S. Dr. Aubuchon, along with Dr Jones and the team own Intellectual property on a panel of proteins able to differentiate between viable and non viable embryos for in vitro fertilization. 

From there, she received a Master of Science degree in Radiobiology. Her studies were funded by NASA and focused on the effect of galactic cosmic radiation on the hippocampus of astronauts during space travel. 

In 2009, Dr Aubuchon was selected by NASA as one of 15 scientists from worldwide applications to attend NASA’s Space Radiation summer school in Brookhaven NY. There she learned about space radiation during  travel, interviewed astronauts on cognitive experiences in space and helped develop radiation shielding for NASA spacecrafts. 

Dr Aubuchon went on the receive her PhD in Biomedical Sciences- Immunology, from Eastern Virginia Medical School, where she focused on the autoimmunity of Type 1 Diabetes. She did her post doctoral fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles. 

Dr Aubuchon has published several peer reviewed articles on both Type 1 and Type II diabetes, obesity and the metabolic syndrome. Her research has been featured in the JDRF’s nPOD magazine. 

In her previous role, Dr. Aubuchon  served as an Associate professor of Immunology and Virology at Hampton University’s undergraduate and graduate programs. Currently, she works as a Director, Regulatory Submissions, at JLI. She recently added children’s book author to her resume with the publishing of IF YOU TOUCH, I’LL TELL. This book teaches children about the importance of using their voice power.”

Vivian Rene

Board Memeber

Our Vision

The vision of DAHEI is to reduce health and education inequities in the Eastern Caribbean Islands by improving the quality of life for individuals and families through:

  • Enhancing technology and training in medical facilities.
  • Improving literacy by providing support for higher education.
  • Providing quality training and resources to educational institutions.

Our Partners

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