The UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial Health Care community is working to assist the victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico with the deployment of a disaster relief team, support of the American Red Cross, and collaboration with the Association of American Medical Colleges to support the island’s four medical schools, according to a memo from UMass Medical School Chancellor Michael F. Collins and UMass Memorial Health Care President and CEO Eric W. Dickson.
“We know that some members of our community and their families are deeply affected, and we are all concerned, about conditions on the island of Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria,” Chancellor Collins said. “The path to recovery for these 3.4 million American citizens will be lengthy and arduous, and while we keep the residents of Puerto Rico in our thoughts, we also wanted to let you know how our organizations are working to provide much-needed support.”
The UMass Memorial Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT) – a group comprised of volunteer medical personnel (emergency medicine physicians, nurses, EMTs, paramedics, pharmacists, respiratory therapists, and more) and logistics and communications experts – has been deployed in Puerto Rico.
The American Red Cross, which UMMS and UMass Memorial support through COMECC and United Way, is working with federal, corporate and community partners to mobilize volunteers and relief supplies. Their efforts include shipping satellite phones and other technologies to facilitate communications, and distributing basic relief supplies including water, food, clean-up kits, insect repellant, hand sanitizer, work gloves and more.
Members of the academic medical center community are encouraged to contribute, if they are able, to the Red Cross to support these efforts. Donate or learn more by visiting https://www.redcross.org/donate/donation
UMass Medical School is also in touch with the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) to explore ways in which they might support students and faculty at the island’s four medical schools.
“We stand ready and willing to offer our assistance,” Collins said.
The AAMC has established this web page to share the most up-to-date information on their efforts.
An update on the efforts of the Red Cross in Puerto Rico will be provided on Tuesday, Oct. 3, from 12-1 p.m. in the Multi-Purpose room of the Albert Sherman Center. Attendees are asked to bring a bag lunch.
“While at this time the situation on the ground in Puerto Rico is urgent, recovery efforts will last for months or even years,” Dr. Dickson said. “With that, as well as the launch of the Epic electronic health record throughout the clinical system next week in mind, we want to assure you that it is our intention to continue to provide periodic briefings to our community on how we might help in the coming weeks and months.