MedShares Celebrates Our 900th Aid Shipment

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In the most underdeveloped countries in the world, children  and adults suffer and  die every day because their doctors, hospitals and clinics, do not have the necessary supplies and equipment to treat them. At the same time, U.S. hospitals and manufacturers discard an billions of dollars worth of medical supplies each year, much of which is useable surplus that could save lives, but is sent to landfills.

MedShare was founded in 1998 on the premise that both the humanitarian and environmental issues can, and should be addressed.

Our first shipment was made in May, 1999 and was sent to a recipient in Costa Rica. From these humble beginnings we have grown to be one of the largest shippers of medical aid in the country.

In 2001 we were up to 15 shipments and then in 2002 it doubled to 30. Skip forward a few years to 2009, when MedShare’s 500th forty-foot container of medical supplies and equipment is shipped. The shipment was sponsored by the newly-formed Southeastern Regional Council and was sent to benefit Santa Rosa Maternity Hospital in Ecuador.

Also in 2009, a mobile CT Scanner was donated to us by Catalina Imaging in Sacramento, CA. This 45-foot mobile imaging system is the largest single medical equipment donation MedShare has received. It was safely delivered to the capital of Zimbabwe where it is the only functioning CT system in public health in the country.

In October 2009, MedShare responded to its first international disaster when a tsunami struck American Samoa. MedShare was quick to respond to the medical needs after an earthquake and devastating tsunami struck American Samoa. In disaster relief situations such as this, basic medical supplies run out quickly. Within hours after MedShare received their custom order, volunteers and staff had picked the hundreds of boxes from the warehouse, wrapped them on shipping pallets, and then transported the truckloads to the Port of Oakland.

But nothing could have prepared us for the biggest disaster in the Western hemisphere in modern times. On the afternoon of January 12, 2010, I received a text from our CEO in Atlanta and we began our response planning.

Within hours we mobilized volunteers to help us prepare aid shipments, including, notably. In the first couple of weeks we shipped 11 containers of aid and provisioned 22 medical teams. Since the earthquake we have shipped 44 containers to help strengthen their fragile health system. In January of this year, I was privileged to visit Haiti once again. While the challenges will be significant for the country for many years to come, I can say with a high level of assurance that MedShare’s partnerships are having a demonstrable impact on the lives of many Haitian’s.

The 900th container of  humanitarian aid that we shipped on April 9, 2013, Imageis destined for John F Kennedy Medical Center  located in Liberia’s capital City of Monrovia.  The medical center serves a population that is struggling with significant health challenges, including hypertension, malnourishment, and HIV/AIDS. The US spends an average of $7,700 per capita on healthcare, while Liberia just spends 6/10 of 1 percent of that – a measly $49.

This shipment contains 1,000 boxes of critically needed medical supplies such as IV kits, gloves, needles and suture to help treat thousands of patients per year. Hospital beds, examination tables, an anesthesia machine, pulse oximeters, and even a centrifuge and a microscope for their lab.

Traveling at 17 knots, it will leave the Port of  Oakland and be 50 days in transit and is set to arrive on June 2.

We’re excited about MedShare’s future, as together with the partners represented over these past 14+ years, we are confident of our ability to do even more good.

We acknowledge that there is significant opportunity to further enhance MedShare’s impact through more partnerships and collaborations at the local, national and international levels, and we invite each of you to help us deliver health and hope to more people around the world.

Chuck Haupt
Executive Director
Western Region

The U.S. Zero W…

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The U.S. Zero Waste Business Council hosted their first annual conference in Costa Mesa, CA on June 26 & 27 with attendees from all over the U.S. MedShare was pleased to be asked to speak about our innovative recycling program for hospitals.

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Chuck Haupt, Executive Director, Western Region, was part of a panel of speakers that also included representatives from The Walt Disney Company and MillerCoors Brewing. Mr. Haupt shared the successes (and challenges) of operating California’s first large-scale recycling operation for healthcare providers.

Did you know that hospitals are the 4th largest producer of waste, out of 48 types of businesses, in CA? While hospitals may already be recycling paper, cardboard, and even food waste, without MedShare there are tons of usable surplus being thrown into landfills every day.

Special thanks to Stephanie Barger of Earth Resource Foundation and Gary Liss of Gary Liss & Associates for organizing such a wonderful event.

Environmental Innovation Award for MedShare

MedShare received Acterra’s 2012 Business Environmental Award in the category of Environmental Innovation for their ground-breaking program to recycle surplus medical supplies and equipment.

Acterra’s Business Environmental Awards is one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s oldest and most prestigious environmental recognition programs. Initiated in 1990, it is considered a heavyweight among award programs due to its rigorous application and judging process. “Our awardees must demonstrate their environmental commitment and achievements through a careful vetting process,” states Committee Chair Laura Teksler. “In addition to a thorough written application, the top contenders must demonstrate their programs’ merits firsthand to the judges during a visit to the applicants’ facilities. By the time they are selected to receive our award, they have truly proven that their programs are “setting the bar” in corporate environmental leadership.”

MedShare Western Region Staff

MedShare was recognized for their efficient recovery and redistribution of surplus medical supplies and equipment that helps to improve the environment and healthcare for the medically underserved. As California’s first high-volume medical supply recycler, MedShare’s reuse program is changing the landscape of medical waste disposal in the State.

MedShare collects unused, unexpired surplus medical supplies and equipment from hospitals and medical distributors.  These are items that would be destined for landfills, but instead, MedShare redistributes them to needy hospitals in developing countries as well as community-based health clinics throughout California.

“MedShare continues to deliver innovative solutions for healthcare providers that want to green their operations and we are honored that our waste reduction efforts are being recognized by Acterra Business Environmental Awards,” said Chuck Haupt, Executive Director, MedShare’s Western Region. “In cooperation with leading hospitals and manufacturers we were able to divert an amazing 228 tons of surplus from local landfills in 2011.”

Acterra Award 2012

In Northern California, there are more than 30 hospitals participating in MedShare’s innovative Hospital Recovery Program, including Sutter Health, Kaiser Permanente, and Dignity Health.  These hospitals recognize the local environmental benefit that their contributions have, as well as the impact that they will have on people’s lives around the globe.

“In 14 years of operation as a national organization, MedShare has shipped over 800 forty-foot ocean containers of surplus medical supplies and equipment to hospitals in 93 developing nations,” said Meridith Rentz, MedShare’s CEO & President.  “This accounts for over two million cubic feet of landfill space saved.  We could not have achieved this level of impact without partnerships with forward-thinking health systems and manufacturers of medical supplies who are committed to operating in an environmentally sustainable manner.”

MedShare named as finalist for Environmental Award

MedShare was recently named as a finalist for the Business Environmental Awards. These awards highlight and honor innovative programs and outstanding achievements which contribute toward a sustainable San Francisco Bay Area.

MedShare’s reuse program is changing the landscape of medical waste disposal in the State of California and we are honored to have been selected as a finalist for this prestigious award.

MedShare uniquely addresses the issue of increasing recycling within a market segment that is underperforming. MedShare is dramatically decreasing the amount of medical supplies currently going into the waste stream, while at the same time delivering life-saving materiel to the medically underserved. Unused surplus medical supplies would normally be destined for landfills, but instead, MedShare redistributes them to hospitals in developing countries as well as community-based health clinics throughout California..

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ImageSince its inception, the Acterra awards program has recognized over 140 businesses and organizations for corporate environmental leadership. The program’s goals include celebrating the accomplishments of businesses with innovative sustainable programs, recognizing leaders in the industry, and providing an educational forum that increases awareness and motivates all companies to adopt sustainable business practices.