Congratulations to Health Care Heroes Dr. Toni Brayer and Dr. Enoch Choi!

The San Francisco Business Times recently named two friends of MedShare as “Health Care Heroes”. Both Dr. Brayer (Chief Medical Officer with Sutter Health’s West Bay Region) and Dr. Choi (from Sutter’s Palo Alto Medical Foundation) have used medical supplies provided by MedShare while on their medical missions.

They are both committed to providing care to those most in need after disasters around the globe – notably, after the Haitian earthquake, Hurricane Katrina, and the more recent earthquake in Japan.


Dr. Brayer’s profile http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/print-edition/2012/07/27/brayer-brandishes-her-medical-might.html

Dr. Choi’s profile http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/print-edition/2012/07/27/his-mission-delivering-urgent-care.html

San Jose State University Students Operate Mobile Health Clinic in Honduras

Dental issues, parasites, hypertension, bacterial infections and colds: these innocuous-when-treated medical issues can be lethal in a community lacking in resources and medical service.

In 2010, two groups of San Jose State University students committed to travel to Honduras to treat community members with illnesses like these with dignity and respect.

Volunteers serving in Honduras

A lofty goal, sure; but by recognizing the power of many and utilizing resources like MedShare’s MedTeam Store, these students served over 300 patients over the course of two trips in 2011.

Lily Yu, President of the San Jose State University Chapter of Global Medical Brigades, shared with us her account of the trip:

On behalf of the San Jose State University Global Medical Brigades team, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the MedShare Team for all of your help and support once again.

San Jose State University students serving in Honduras

In the summer of 2010, a team of 20 students came together to achieve a common goal: provide access to health care to a part of the world where it was limited. With MedShare’s help, we were able to successfully operate mobile clinics to help treat some of the most preventable health issues in San Antonio de Oriente, Honduras.

Our first medical brigade was in January 2011, where we successfully mobilized a free clinic to Honduras, treating over 300 patients with severe wounds from working on sugarcane fields, intestinal parasites, hypertension, bacterial infections, dental issues, and coughs and colds that have turned lethal due to the community’s location and lack of resources. After this first brigade, we knew that our work could not end there. In order to keep healthcare accessible to this community, my team and I decided we needed to continue our efforts.

Children in Honduras

In February 2011, we assembled another team of 25 student volunteers to mobilize a clinic back to Honduras for a brigade on August 14-20, 2011. I reached out to MedShare, and was delighted to hear that we had your support once again. Because MedShare believed in our work, we were inspired to serve San Antonio de Oriente again, where many new patients lined up to receive the care they deserved. We see the positive impact we made in this community in January and in August, and know that our efforts have helped improve their quality of life.

MedShare has empowered our organization to help change and impact the world, one healthy patient at a time. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts and hope to continue our efforts with your support.

If you would like to learn more about MedShare’s Medical Mission Team Store, click here.

This story is an excerpt from our January e-news. To read more – including a story of fate’s role in a Haiti container delivery and an incredibly dedicated high school volunteer – click here.

Medical Mission to South Georgia Serves Farm Workers

Imagine working in dusty fields, day after day, doing the sort of backbreaking work that wears a body down. You have trouble speaking English, and your living situation leaves something to be desired. Now imagine that not only are you dealing with a nagging sore on your hand that won’t heal, but your child has a cold that won’t go away. With no insurance or healthcare provider to speak of, your options seem limited.

Enter the Family Farm Worker Health Program, a two-week intensive immersion learning experience that provides healthcare to migrant and seasonal farm workers and their families in South Georgia each year. You now have hope.

Emory University School of Nursing student treats patients

Students from schools across the state of Georgia participate, including Emory University’s Nell Hodgson School of Nursing. The initiative, now in its 18th year, treated approximately 600 individuals during their June 12 – 24 mission trip this year.

MedShare is proud to support this program by providing medical supplies to Emory’s team through our Medical Mission Team Store. For a small donation, individuals can collect much-needed medical supplies for their mission trips; available supplies include sutures, gowns, gloves, gauze, and much more. In MedShare’s 13-year history, we’ve supported over 2,100 such teams.

Carrie White, an Emory University nursing student who participated in this year’s Familiy Farm Worker Health Program, kindly sent us her account of the trip:

“Two weeks down South have come and gone. It is hard to imagine that in two weeks time, we saw around 250 kids and 350 adults. Approximately 600 individuals received medical attention that otherwise wouldn’t have through the Family Migrant Farm Worker Program in Moultrie, GA. The Migrant Farm Worker Program, coordinated through Emory’s School of Nursing, would not be possible without the generous donations from our partners like MedShare.

Basic supplies such as lancets, clean needles, gauze and alcohol pads are something we take for granted in the hospital setting. In the community setting, on the other hand, resources are often scarce. With MedShare’s donations of medical supplies through their Medical Mission Team Store program, we were able to provide our patients in the migrant fields with basic health screenings such as testing their blood sugar and iron levels. We were able to assess their blood pressure, height and weight, and provide health promotion activities. Primary care for pertinent health issues among the migrant workers were treated more easily thanks to MedShare.

To see health disparities that are associated with living in a third-world country just hours from Atlanta, GA is something I feel one can never really prepare for. In fact, I believe nothing can truly prepare you for the world you step in the moment you drive down those dirt roads, or hold the hand of a small child who came with their migrant worker family. The experiences and education we gained during our two weeks in Moultrie, GA is an invaluable adjunct to any classroom setting that discusses community health.

The undergraduate nursing students who went to Moultrie, GA this summer were truly humbled by the experience. We were also amazed at the amount of medical supplies wasted by hospitals in the Atlanta area. We were so happy to put these supplies to good use in South Georgia, and we thank you MedShare for their continued support in our education and experiential training. It is through these interactions and opportunities, that we learn the true value of nursing and serving the needs of others in the humblest of settings.”

If you would like to learn more about MedShare’s Medical Mission Team Store, click here.

This is an excerpt from September’s e-newsletter. To read more – including a letter from CEO Meridith Rentz and our 700th container shipment celebration – click here.

MedShare Supplies Benefiting Nejo Hospital, Ethiopia

“I am in this world to make a difference one soul at a time. To me, there is nothing better that I would rather spend my time on than helping the poor get access to medical care,” says registered nurse Kidist Bitew.

Men’s ward, 8+ beds to a room regardless of medical diagnosis

Kidist is a native of Nejo, Ethiopia, who visited MedShare’s Western Region Medical Team Store last October to pick up just over 50 pounds of medical supplies for Nejo Hospital, located 320 miles west of Ethiopia’s capital city Addis Ababa.

Nejo Hospital is the only one in the area serving more than 350,000 people. It has only four physicians: one surgeon and three general practitioners. There are eight patient beds per room regardless of the illness. Nejo Hospital has only two private rooms and they are reserved for TB patients. The majority of Nejo’s population lives on less than a dollar a day. Poverty, severe unemployment, and infant mortality are widespread. Patients travel 6-8 hours by foot to receive treatment from the hospital and they are often treated free of charge.

Opening MedShare boxes at Nejo Hospital

Kidist plans to return to Nejo each year. She is using her medical mission trips to establish long-term relationships with Nejo Hospital and the surrounding cities/health centers. Through education, she is teaching the community about prevention and/or reduction in the spread of malaria, TB and HIV/AIDs. Together, they have established a goal to reduce the spread of infectious disease by at least 25% by the year 2015.

Kidist is currently raising money to send a 40-foot container to Nejo. “For our third mission trip we are planning to ship a container filled with donated medical equipment and basic medications by July 2011. These items will include gloves, dressings, safety needles, fetal monitors, beds, mattresses, X-ray viewing light, ultrasound machines, anesthesia machine and X-ray machine, mosquito nets and other soft medical supplies.”

To contribute to her project, click here, and to learn more about our MedShare Medical Team Store, click here.

This is an excerpt from June’s e-newsletter. To read more – including a story of our oldest volunteer and how we’re supporting the world’s soon-to-be newest nation – click here.

MedShare & Emory University’s Family Farm Worker Health Program


Each year, faculty and students from Emory University’s School of Nursing travel to south Georgia as part of their Family Farm Worker Health Program, a two-week intensive immersion learning experience that provides health care to migrant and seasonal farm workers and their families. MedShare is proud to support this program by providing medical supplies to Emory’s team for their trip.*

This morning, nursing students from Emory volunteered at MedShare to sort medical supplies and prepare for their trip. Judith Wold, PhD, RN, Project Director and Visiting Professor, took a moment to share information about their program, upcoming trip, and the important role that MedShare plays in it.

As with all partners, we are grateful for our working relationship with Emory University and Emory Healthcare. From donating medical supplies and equipment to providing volunteers each month, thanks for all that you do to help us achieve our mission of bridging the gap between surplus and need!

Emory University School of Nursing students sort medical supplies

To view more photos of Emory’s nursing students volunteering, click here.

*If you’re not familiar with MedShare’s Medical Team Store, we often equip medical mission teams with supplies for their work in impoverished hospitals and clinics in developing countries. In our 12-year history, we’ve provided supplies for more than 1,500 teams. To learn more, click here.

Medical Missions in Quezon City, Philippines

A Servants of Mary sister and patients with medical supplies from MedShare

Quezon City, the most populous city in the Philippines, boasts not only warm weather year-round, but also an unfortunate problem with Tuberculosis. Tuberculosis, or TB, is an infectious disease caused by the “tubercle bacilli” bacteria which affect the lungs, and can also attack parts of the body such as bones, intestines, and kidneys.

Dr. Antonieta Inumerable, head of the Quezon City Health Department, says, “one third of the world population has TB infection and 1.9 million people die every year because of TB.” Among 22 countries with widely-known TB issues, the Philippines rank ninth, and averages 75 Filipino fatalities daily. TB ranks eight among the ten leading causes of illness in Quezon City, and sixth among the ten leading causes of death.

It was with this in mind that The Servants of Mary, a medical team who heard about MedShare from their local Wells Fargo Bank, have served in Quezon City for eight years. Spearheaded by Sr. Maria Del Carmen Voga, the Mother Superior of the Servants of Mary in Quezon City, a clinic was started in 2003 to provide free medical care. Their main focus, in addition to preventation and urgent care, is fighting TB. Last year, their clinic saw 16,237 patients, and gave TB meds to 430 patients.

Sr. Maria’s sister, Gladys, visited MedShare’s Western Region Medical Team Store last November to collect supplies for their clinic. The store offers medical mission teams a cost effective option for items they will need on their mission trips.  We are proud to help supply their mission and support the ongoing battle with TB.

Below are words of thanks and photos from the clinic:

On behalf of Servant of Mary in Quezon City, Philippines I want to thank you for all your generosity and help. Your help has been a blessing for the many needy families that we assist. I arrived in the Philippines on Oct 10 with your donated supplies. The Sisters and the community we serve want to say a Big Thank you to all of you.

Servant of Mary
Sor Maria del Carmen Vega

To learn more about our Medical Team Store, click here.

This is an excerpt from our April e-newsletter. To read more – including stories of MedShare’s environmental impact and a biomedical engineer volunteer – click here.

Pediatric AIDS Initiative in Gondar, Ethiopia

Typical teaching session with medical students & Dr. Gordon – University Hospital, Gondar

On October 21, 2010, Dr. David Gordon, a UCSF-trained pediatrician with the Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative in Gondar, Ethiopia, visited MedShare to pick-up supplies before returning to Africa. Dr. Gordon, or Dave, as he prefers to be called, captivated the staff with the struggles and limitations of the Gondar Medical College, which is the only tertiary care hospital in the region.

According to Dave, the hospital “struggles to find ambu bags and pediatric masks during emergencies, our anti-TB medications regularly run out of stock, and many basic laboratory tests are either unavailable or prohibitively expensive.” Among the equipment deficiencies that have impacted the hospital most severely has been that of glucometers. There is a substantial epidemic of Type One diabetes in the region’s population, and the hospital admits three or four new onset diabetics per month.

The children there experience another deficiency; due to a complete lack of toys, the children in the pediatric ward have no visual or sensory stimulation. Dave makes toys for them out of string and bottle caps, wood, or whatever he can get his hands on. His stories moved many of MedShare’s volunteers, and some wanted to create and ship dolls for the children there.*

Once Dave started shopping at the MedShare Medical Team store, the staff and volunteers filled Dave’s boxes and backpack with the much-needed glucometers, test strips, ambu bags, O2 tubing, pediatric masks, and much more! A few weeks after his return to the hospital, the director of the hospital, Dr. Mehretie Kokil, sent MedShare some very kind words of thanks:

“The care given to children in our pediatrics ward is compromised by a paucity of available medical equipment. Providers cannot measure vital signs due to a shortage of thermometers and blood pressure cuffs; they cannot follow blood sugar at the bedside of diabetics due to a shortage of glucometers, and they are not able to resuscitate the sickest children due to a shortage of oxygenation and ventilation equipment. The lack of equipment compromises medical education as well. Your contribution to our facility here in Gondar has greatly expanded our bedside diagnostic capabilities and our ability to instruct the future physicians of Ethiopia. Thank you for your help and support.”

*If you’d like to send toys for the kids, ship them to: Gondar Medical College, PO Box 911, Gondar, Ethiopia Attn: Dr. David Gordon

This story is an excerpt from our March e-newsletter. Click here to read the entire newsletter, featuring stories of an inspiring volunteer and MedShare’s service to women in honor of International Women’s Day.