MedShare is re-certified as a California Green Business!

The Bay Area Green Business Program, initiated more than 10 years ago, is a pioneering program for pollution prevention and resource conservation that is a model for other communities nationwide.

To be certified as a Green Business, organizations must demonstrate that they take action to conserve resources and prevent pollution in both their facility (fixtures and maintenance) and their operations (purchasing and other practices).

As MedShare cares deeply about the environment, and about diverting as much usable medical surplus from landfills as possible, here are some of the things we did to earn this certification:

• Implemented an environmentally preferred purchasing program
• Replaced 69 metal halide lights with energy-efficient T-8 fluorescent fixture with motion sensors
• Installed ultra low flow toilets
• Made two sided printing and copying standard practice
• In the lunch/break room, replaced disposables with permanent ware (mugs, dishes, utensils, etc.)
• Toner cartridges refilled for reuse
• Retrofitted exit signs with LED lights
• Use of ENERGY STAR® office equipment and enabled energy saving features

We’re proud to be a named a Bay Area Green Business!

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Repost: MedShare Made 2nd Shipment of Medical Aid

On January 17, 2012, MedShare’s Western Region shipped a container of medical supplies and equipment to Tonga. The Tonga Government posted a press release announcing this shipment, and we wanted to share it with you. (To view the original, click here.)

MedShare Made 2nd Shipment of Medical Aid

On the 17th of January 2012, award-winning charity MedShare shipped a 40-foot ocean container of medical supplies and equipment designated for the two island groups of Niuatoputapu and ‘Eua, in Tonga.

Lord Tuita, Consul General of the Kingdom of Tonga in San Francisco, attended the shipment ceremony.

Lord Tuita, Tonga Consul General, San Francisco; Taylor Butterfield; Chuck Haupt, Executive Director, MedShare's Western Region

This container of critically-needed medical supplies and equipment was coordinated (including the seafreight) by Taylor Butterfield from Sacramento, California, who has undertaken this project as a part of his Boy Scout Eagle Award.

This is the 2nd container of medical supplies and equipment that has been sent by MedShare to the Kingdom.

Tonga Consul General Lord Tuita with Executive Director, MedShare W. Region) during the ceremony marking MedShare's second shipment of medical aid to Tonga

MedShare is an innovative non-profit organization and operates California’s first large-scale surplus medical supply recycler which mobilizes tons of excess medical supplies through cooperation with various manufacturers and its 29 local partner hospitals.

Founded in 1998, MedShare is consistently ranked as one of the United States most efficient charities, and has successfully delivered over 750 containers of aid to 90 developing nations.

Mid-January Container Shipment Announcements

Mid-January Container Shipment Announcements

To view December’s Container Shipment Announcements, click here.

TechNation Magazine: Biomeds Give Back | Repost

MedShare was prominently featured in the January issue of TechNation Magazine, and we wanted to share the article with you. Click here to view the entire online magazine, or read the article below.

Biomeds Give Back

Surprising ways to use your skills for the greater good

By: K Richard Douglas

 

It’s better to give than to receive . Found originall y in the Bible , peo ple who have adopted this philosophy know it is true, including several biomeds we interviewed this month about their charitable efforts. Most will tell you that they feel great fulfillment from giving. They’ll also tell you that giving does not always refer to money or things – a donation of time and specialized skills can be equally helpful and rewarding.

Several charities across the U.S. recycle medical equipment and get that equipment to patients, hospitals and health clinics that might otherwise not be able to afford it. Teams of doctors and other health care specialists from the U.S. volunteer their time to perform medical procedures in developing countries, as well as for uninsured patients in the U.S. 

Acquiring and maintaining working medical equipment is often cited as one of the most difficult challenges volunteers face.

The opportunity to be a part of these volunteer activities is always gratifying for the participants. Several charitable organizations specialize in health care missions, and each cite medical equipment support as a constant need. In areas where there is a shortage of medical equipment, there is almost always a shortage of people who have the proper training and tools to maintain that equipment.

“I am a big proponent of volunteering, and I encourage anyone who enters this field to use the talents they have to give back to society,” says Kelly VanDeWalker, CBET. “I have and still do volunteer for various organizations,” VanDeWalker says, including a Medical Missions company in Indianapolis. VanDeWalker finds ways to put his specialized training to use in the volunteer arena through “contacts I have made over the 30 years I have been in this profession.” 

The need for health care volunteers in the wake of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that shook Haiti last January was overwhelming. Medical Dealer and TechNation covered the stories of several biomeds’ experiences of the aftermath. “I traveled to Milot, Haiti, for my fifth trip the last week of October 2011,” says David Sieminski, State Treasurer for the California Medical Instrumentation Association and the board representative for the group’s Capitol Chapter. There, he volunteered as a biomed at the Hôpital Sacré Coeur in northern Haiti.

Sieminski trained two Hatian biomed tech trainees on ventilators, skills they would use long after he was gone. “I also volunteered my services to American River College and taught an entry level biomed tech class on ventilation. I also volunteered my service again to American River College and taught an eight hour respiratory ventilation class for second year students and other biomed(s).” Volunteering veterans say offering training is one of the most helpful things they can provide. Without properly trained biomeds to maintain it, the value of any donated medical equipment sharply declines. 

Sieminski has found several personal benefits to charitable work. “My volunteered time has been both the most rewarding and educational. I suggest doing charity work to expand your knowledge as well as to improve your social networking skills. As a volunteer to Haiti, I have been studying the language (Creole) and can now at least ask for what I need and understand what they need. 

It’s easier than you think to get involved. “There are places and companies that help support your charitable work if you make them aware,” Sieminski says. “What a great way to spend a vacation.” 

MedShare, a nonprofit organization that distributes medical supplies and equipment in developing countries, would agree. The organization recently helped convert a former University of Georgia campus bus with the staff and students at the Chattahoochee Technical College’s Biomedical Engineering Technology program to help teach young biomeds about volunteering. The refurbished bus will be used as a mobile medical clinic to screen for diabetes and hypertension in Ghana. Instructor Dr. Mike O’Rear and his students helped create the mobile medical clinic to aid the people of Ghana. When MedShare became aware of the need for such screening, they contacted Dr. O’Rear about initiating the project. MedShare will stock the bus with unused medical supplies gathered from U.S. hospitals. 

Med Share and the Biomed Niche 

There is a great need for biomeds in many of the nation’s charitable organizations, MedShare representatives say. The need encompasses a spectrum, from performing repairs and maintenance, to providing training, to evaluating donated medical equipment and even assisting with OEM and other industry contacts. 

“Biomedical/clinical engineers and their departments can contribute to MedShare’s Hospital Recovery Program simply by being ever-mindful of our needs,” says Angie Bryan, Strategic Sourcing Manager at MedShare. The aggregator and distributor of surplus medical supplies and equipment has two locations: in Decatur, Ga., and San Leandro, Calif. 

“Any time equipment is no longer needed by [your] program, it can be donated to MedShare, provided it is in relatively good condition. We also accept and need items that go along with biomedical equipment, such as tubes and other items needed for proper operation. If a department has a good relationship with a manufacturer, they can facilitate a connection for us. Many of our best partnerships have been formed in this way,” Bryan says. 

Equipment that has reached the end of its useful life in this country can still be used overseas, if properly maintained. Two staff biomeds evaluate and repair all equipment donated to MedShare, but the organization also seeks biomed volunteers, especially in California, the Mid- Atlantic and South Florida, Bryan says. 

MedShare donated supplies enable hospitals worldwide to provide better care

“Though entirely dependent on the proximity of biomedical/clinic engineers to each of MedShare’s two warehouses (Atlanta and San Leandro, Calif.), we would welcome skilled engineers to assist in the assessment and repair of equipment.” 

Biomeds can also help by promoting awareness of equipment needs in developing countries to the health care facilities, ISOs and OEMs they work for. “Med- Share has a great need for equipment. It is often the No. 1 item requested by our recipients,” Bryan says. “Consequently, it is also the most difficult to come by.” 

Medical Missions Foundation 

Medical Missions Foundation grew out of the need to help impoverished children in the Philippines and went on to serve the medical needs of children in 12 countries. Among the organization’s objectives are to provide surgical and medical care for children and adults and to provide donated medical equipment and supplies to economically depressed areas. Additionally, the nonprofit provides medical training to local health care providers. 

Shanna Goodman, Director of Development and Marketing for Medical Mission Foundations, explains. “As our key mission is to provide surgeries for the disadvantaged children of developing countries, we always greatly appreciate the donation of time, services and equipment of biomedical and clinical engineers and their departments.” 

“Biomedical engineers are instrumental in assuring the equipment we take on missions is of sound quality and function. We receive equipment donations from generous hospitals and private practices and they often need an inspection and tune-up prior to the mission. We’re able to pay that generosity forward in many instances in which we leave the equipment in-country for the local hospitals to utilize,” Goodman says. 

Medical Mission Foundations can also use the help of biomeds to accompany them to the distant locales they serve. “We have several longtime volunteers that have helped us immensely in setting up or repairing equipment on site,” Goodman says. “Equipment on site can be a challenge as the amenities such as electricity and generators can be in short supply or have intermittent accessibility.” 

Goodman also sees benefits to biomed professionals beyond the good feeling that comes from volunteering time. “Volunteering services for Medical Missions Foundation domestically or traveling internationally on a mission provides the opportunity for biomeds to hone their skills outside the normal day to day operations of their work. Many of our volunteers say that in working in developing countries allows them the opportunity to see things that they have only otherwise read in textbooks.” 

“In addition to direct medical care provided by MMF doctors and nurses, educational components in the form of hand washing, nutrition, dental hygiene and burn prevention are also incorporated as frequently as possible with the module offered based on the need of the country. Uganda and Romania have had a high need for burn prevention awareness and since MMF has provided education, instances of ‘new’ burns have decreased in Romania,” Goodman says. 

“Further, medical missions teams have clinically trained and equipped hundreds of medical professionals and hospitals to perform procedures previously unavailable in these countries. For instance, a Kansas City surgeon conducted the first knee replacement surgery in Bohol, Philippines, on our mission in September 2011. Over the years, millions of dollars worth of donated supplies and in-kind medical services have been shared with the medical personnel and patients in the economically depressed countries that we serve.”

Since its inception, “MMF has completed 62 missions in 12 countries, directly impacting more than 41,000 children and their families through surgeries and clinics.”

Brother ’s Brother Foundation 

Myron Hartman, MS, SASHE, CCE, CRES, CBET, Program Coordinator for the Penn State University Biomedical Engineering Technology program has been a volunteer at Brother’s Brother Foundation since the late 1980s. While working as Director of Clinical Engineering at South Hills Health System, Hartman would take along a couple of biomeds and test equipment for the organization. 

In more recent years, Hartman continued his work with the organization, enlisting some help from students. “Since I have been teaching at PSU the past 10 years, I have traveled with BBF to several local cities tagging equipment that could be used and have taken my students to BBF to do volunteer work in checking medical equipment,” Hartman says. 

“In 2010 I received a call from Luke Hingson, president of BBF, asking me about helping with a project in Liberia, Africa. My goals were to evaluate the medical equipment needs, repair as much as I could, train as many individuals as I could, and then format a plan for long-term medical equipment support.” 

A January 2011 trip took Hartman to Liberia to work at three hospitals over a 10-day period. Hartman planned to make a longer trip during the summer, but health considerations at home altered those plans. He decided instead to bring two biomedical technicians from Phebe hospital in Liberia to the U.S. 

“During that time I trained them on medical equipment skills and provided them the resources for them to be instructors when they return home to train others. We also raised funding for them to rebuild their biomed shop. They have completed their shop renovation and are ready to begin the next phase of the project,” Hartman says. 

Brother’s Brother Foundation has been around since 1958 and has served the needs of people in 140 countries. Those needs have been educational, humanitarian and medical. The organization’s website lists donations of “12,014 tons of medical supplies, pharmaceuticals and hospital equipment” that have been shipped to more than 1,000 hospitals and clinics.

What can you do?

 Hartman’s substantial experience has provided him with valuable insights for biomeds considering similar volunteer work. He suggests finding a local organization like Brother’s Brother Foundation where you can donate used medical equipment. 

“Donated medical equipment must be in working condition, have all accessories and cables, operators and service manuals and any spare parts. It also must be suitable for use in the hospital receiving the equipment with supplies readily available,” he says. 

Hartman suggests that if you locate a local organization that does work like Brother’s Brother, you can volunteer to visit their facility to “check, repair and identify equipment that should or should not be shipped.” 

“Donate your used tools and test equipment. Most biomed shops in developing countries have little to no equipment to service or check medical equipment analyzers, simulators, DMM, electronic test equipment (or) hand tools,” Hartman suggests. He also recommends cash donations and donations of electronic service manuals. 

But what if you don’t have time to travel to volunteer? There are some ways you can get involved right now. Hartman suggests that biomeds identify themselves as a resource “for someone to telephone or e-mail questions on service, calibration, parts and operation of a medical device.” 

Hartman would like to bring together the combined experience of volunteers who have been involved in medical equipment support. “I am hoping to return someday to continue the medical equipment support and training in Liberia. In talking with my peers in the profession who also do similar volunteer work for medical equipment support in developing countries, we are planning a session at the next spring MD Expo in Florida. There are many individuals and organizations providing medical equipment support, so why not join forces so each one of us is not having to create something new? We can share ideas, resources, contacts, and create a network of sharing that can benefit the volunteer, which in turn will benefit the recipients of the work.”

Thanks, TechNation! We are honored to have been included.

Repost: Webmarketing123 Works With MedShare

A few weeks ago, our Western Region was lucky enough to host a volunteer group from Webmarketing123, a digital marketing agency in the San Francisco Bay Area. Greg Hanano, a Marketing Research Analyst at Webmarketing123, wrote a wonderful post about their experience that we wanted to share here:

A couple weeks ago, our company dedicated a morning to volunteering at a local non-profit organization, MedShare.  MedShare is dedicated to improving the environment and healthcare through the efficient recover and redistribution of surplus medical supplies and equipment to undeserved healthcare facilities in developing countries.  They are a group of people dedicated to helping developing countries get the supplies they need, while keeping medical surplus out of landfill.  The organization began in 1998, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, and opened the 2nd location in San Leandro in 2008.

When local Bay Area hospitals have a surplus of supplies (which is not uncommon), they are placed aside for MedShare to pick up, segment, organize, and distribute for shipment to the countries in need.  When a hospital in a developing area needs supplies, they can easily place an order with MedShare.  Volunteers (like us) sort through the supplies to prepare for incoming orders.  We took out items that were expired, separated the tools that were in condition to ship, and crated the supplies into individual boxes.

MedShare is bringing awareness to issues in the world that are rarely in our day-to-day minds.  “There is a shortage of supplies in third world country hospitals, and we throw away hundreds of supplies every day.”  It is important to realize that these are not expensive or rare supplies, but simple hospital necessities like gloves, cotton swabs, or string for stitches.  Doctors working in these areas of need have had to hang up their gloves because they cannot throw them away.  This is a huge health hazard causing the spread of infectious disease.  This is something that has stuck with me.  Every country should be able to use clean medical supplies with every patient and yet, something as simple as clean gloves can be a rare and expensive privilege.

After our briefing, we took a tour of the warehouse and got started at our tables.  There we began our work by sorting through a large pile of supplies and separating them into their bins.  This was the best part of the process.  As a company, we worked together and bonded while efficiently filling 170 boxes of supplies, ready to be flown to different countries in need.

I am so glad that we, as a company, got to share this time together.  This is a great place for companies to help out the community and the world, while bonding at the same time.  What pains me most is that great non-profits, like MedShare, could make a bigger impact if they could expand to every major city in America.  MedShare has been struggling to get their brand name noticed.  That’s where we come in.  WebMarketing123 has decided to start a foundation, dedicated to providing free digital marketing services to non-profit organizations.  The new foundation will help other nonprofits spend their Google advertising dollars wisely, increase their following on Facebook and Twitter, and boost their organic search rankings.  When a non-profit is more noticeable, that’s when they get more help, more donations, and increase the opportunity to make a big impact on the world.

More information will be released soon about Webmarketing123’s non-profit foundation. Please keep in touch with us at#wm123 and check out our blog for new updates. To learn more about MedShare and how your company can get involved, visit www.medshare.org.

The staff at MedShare would like to thank the wonderful Webmarketing123 team for taking the time to sort and box medical supplies. Without volunteers like them, we wouldn’t be able to achieve our mission of bridging the gap between surplus and need.

If you’d like to volunteer, click here to sign up. Opportunities are available in both the San Francisco Bay Area as well as the Atlanta area. 

MedShare Ships First Container to Tonga

Tonga Arms

Yesterday, MedShare’s Western Region shipped an ocean container of medical supplies and equipment to two hospitals in Tonga. Niu’ui Hospital in Ha’apai and Prince Ngu Hospital in Vava’u will be receiving over 1,000 boxes of critically needed supplies.

Tongan-bound boxes of medical supplies

At the ceremony, we were honored to host representatives of the Government of the Kingdom of Tonga, Her Royal Highness Princess Salote Mafile’o Pilolevu Tuita and Lord Tuita, Consul General of Tonga in San Franciso. The Executive Council Members of the Tonga USA Association were also in attendance.

Her Royal Highness Princess Pilolevu Tuita and Lord Tuita, Consul General of Tonga in San Francisco with the MedShare team

The LDS Church, represented by Mr. Van Johnson in the U.S. and Mr. Halahuni Langi, Tongan Country Welfare Manager, is collaborating with MedShare on this shipment. They have arranged the delivery of the container to Liohana High School in Tongatapu, and will then coordinate the shipment of supplies to the two outer island recipient hospitals.

MedShare's Western Region team with Her Royal Highness Princess Pilolevu Tuita and Lord Tuita, Consul General of Tonga in San Francisco sending off the container to Tonga!

The container of aid was sponsored by MedShare’s Western Region Council. The Regional Council is comprised of leading members of the community in Northern California whose purpose is to generate awareness of MedShare and raise funds to support and sustain the organization’s healthcare, humanitarian aid, and environmental mission.

The Kingdom of Tonga is an archipelago situated in the South Pacific Ocean, with a population of 102,000 people. The 170+ islands, of which only 40 are inhabited, are scattered over 700,000 sq km of ocean. Tonga is divided into four main island groups: Tongatapu, where the capital of Nuku’alofa can be found, and ‘Eua; Vava’u; Ha’apai; and the Niuas. The people from two of these island groups shall benefit immensely from the medical aid shipped by MedShare to Tonga.

Her Royal Highness Princess Pilolevu Tuita and Lord Tuita, Consul General of Tonga in San Francisco with MedShare volunteers

We’d also like to give a special thanks to UPS for providing a discounted shipping rate. Without their generosity, this shipment would not have been possible.

Thanks to the Western Region Council, the LDS Church, and everyone else who made this happen!

To view more photos of this ceremony, click here.