Dr. Hal Crosswell Pens Book About 50 Years of Volunteer Service in Haiti

In 1971, now-retired Columbia Eye physician Dr. Hal Crosswell paid a visit to the village of Jérémie, Haiti at the request of Dr. Michael C. Watson, founder of the United Methodist Volunteers in Mission program. He fell in love with the resilient, hope-filled people—and his eyes opened wide to the desperate needs all around him. 

The Methodist Rural Rehabilitation project at Gebeau, located just across the Grande-Anse River on the outskirts of Jérémie, only housed a ten-by-twelve-foot wooden medical clinic with little equipment and even less medication. The people were suffering from rampant disease and malnutrition, vision loss from cataracts, and other illness easily treatable. Dr. Hal knew he needed to help. 

Dr. Hal teamed up with Dr. Watson and other United Methodist Volunteers in Mission partners to construct a new medical-tuberculosis clinic that would also include an eye and dental wing—and where he and his colleagues would spend the next fifty years traveling to support. 

In his book, Eyes for Haiti, Dr. Hal reflects on the many doctors, nurses, and others who joined him in his 50 year journey to help the people of Haiti. 100% of proceeds from sales of the book will benefit the medical clinic in Haiti. The book is available as a paperback ($20) and ebook ($7) from The Advocate Press, the publishing arm of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate newspaper, and Amazon.

About Hal H. Crosswell, M.D.
Crosswell has been a member of the board of United Methodist Volunteers in Mission since its beginning, serving as coordinator of ophthalmological services in the Caribbean area. He practiced ophthalmology (diseases and surgery of the eye) in Columbia, South Carolina area at Columbia Eye for more than 50 years.

He is a graduate of the University of South Carolina (1956) and the Medical University of South Carolina (1960). He then completed a one-year internship at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia (1961). After serving as a medical officer in the United States Air Force, Crosswell completed his residency in ophthalmology at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta (1964-1967). He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American College of Surgeons and a Diplomat of the American Board of Ophthalmology.

Crosswell served as clinical associate professor of ophthalmology on the staff of the USC School of Medicine for more than twenty years and, in 2007, was awarded the Alginon Sidney Sullivan award by the university for his work in Haiti. 

He was awarded the Order of the Palmetto by the State of South Carolina in 2006.

He and his family are longtime members of Shandon United Methodist Church in Columbia.