A Special Thank You from A.B. Short, our CEO & Co-Founder

Dear MedShare friends and supporters,

A.B. Short, MedShare CEO & Co-Founder

It is with pleasure that I welcome Meridith Rentz to MedShare. After thirteen years, $93 million worth of supplies shipped in 700 forty-foot containers to 88 countries, 2,100 medical teams outfitted and 2 million cubic feet of space saved from landfills, I have decided it is time to step down from the role of CEO. As of September 1, my new role at MedShare will be Senior Advisor to the CEO.

I’m confident that you are in very capable hands with Meridith. Tasked with finding my successor, MedShare’s Board of Trustees conducted a national search to find the best candidate. Their year-long process was outstanding, and we are lucky to have Meridith. She brings strong academic, healthcare and nonprofit management experience, and her passion for our mission mirrors my own.

As Jim Arnett, MedShare’s Board Chair, said, “Meridith’s experience leading high quality, innovative programs of the geographic breath and scale that MedShare aspires to will support the significant growth and expansion of our own services that is underway.”

There are many things I could say about these past thirteen years. That MedShare has attracted such a strong, committed staff has been both humbling and empowering. Our in-kind and financial donor community far exceeded our earliest expectations, as did the 18,000 community volunteers we mobilize each year to sort and pack medical supplies. The Board, remarkable in their commitment and dedication, has been my true driving force. From the very beginning, I received their encouragement to make MedShare a national leader in the medical surplus recovery and redistribution field, and to create the best model that can be replicated and grown into a truly international organization. I’m proud that this once one-person operation has, and continues to, not only fulfill, but exceed their expectations.

From this self-proclaimed “do-gooder,” I appeal to you to keep doing good. If there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s that regardless of situation, all people share a commonality. We are all one family, and we should act accordingly.

YOU and the thousands of people like you make up the MedShare family. Your involvement and investment have made our vision for MedShare a reality and have created and sustained an organization that will continue to do good for many years to come. While my role may be changing, our work is not yet done and I encourage your continued support of our mission to bridge the gap between surplus and need.

Sincerely,

A.B. Short
MedShare CEO & Co-Founder

To read the letter from our Board Chair, Jim Arnett, announcing this CEO transition, click here. For more, read the Atlanta Journal Constitution coverage and the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s feature.

MedShare Welcomes Tony Blair Faiths Act Fellows

In early August, we introduced you to our Tony Blair Faiths Act Fellow, Sana Rahim and Clint Fluker. They’re doing an incredible job so far, and we’re enjoying having them!

Our CEO and Co-Founder, A.B. Short, welcomed them on the Tony Blair Faith Foundation’s blog, and we wanted to share the post with you. Click here to view, or see below.

MedShare Welcomes Tony Blair Faiths Act Fellows

By: A.B. Short, MedShare CEO & Co-Founder

Faiths Act fellows Sana Rahim and Clint Fluker, joined MedShare in late July. The two not only brought with them a wealth of experience and talent, but also a tangible new energy to our team.

Clint and Sana, MedShare's Faiths Act Fellows

You see, MedShare is aware of the potential to bridge interfaith groups in our community for a greater good, and as such, we’ve been eagerly anticipating their arrival.

To welcome Clint and Sana, we hosted a team breakfast where they had the opportunity to meet everyone. Then, to foster their understanding of how MedShare’s operates, they met with each of our various departments. I especially enjoyed sharing the history, founding, and achievements of MedShare with them.

During their year at MedShare, Clint and Sana will be working with various faith communities in Atlanta to allow those from different faith backgrounds to come together for a common cause: to improve global health.

Clint, Sana and Lindsey Barnett, MedShare's Senior Programs Manager, Sorting Medical Supplies

Their presence here has the potential to double the number of volunteers and, accordingly, our impact worldwide.

MedShare mobilizes community volunteers to sort and box the 20,000 lbs of donated medical supplies that we collect weekly, so you can see why their role is vital to MedShare’s ability to truly bridge the gap between surplus and need.

In addition to leading volunteers, our fellows plan to raise funds for joint container sponsorships, bridging those from various faith backgrounds to send 2,000 boxes of medical supplies to healthcare facilities treating victims of malaria and improving access to healthcare for women and children.

Clint and Sana with A.B. Short, MedShare CEO & Co-Founder

Most importantly, though, Clint and Sana will leave a lasting impact on the MedShare community of staff and volunteers as they lead us in a greater understanding of the way that collaborative faith can be a force for good.

I expect the Faiths Act fellows will pass along invaluable interfaith dialogue skills that we will continue to benefit from and utilize long after the fellowship has ended.

We’re honored to be a host, and happy to have them!

A.B. Short, MedShare’s CEO & Co-Founder

To learn more about medshare go to: http://www.medshare.org/

If you’d like to welcome Sana and Clint to MedShare, you can do so on our Facebook wall or via Twitter: @MedShare, @SanaRahim or @ClintFluker.

MedShare Ships Container to Mully’s Children’s Family in Kenya

Kenya

This morning, staff and volunteers from MedShare’s Southeastern Regional Distribution Center in Decatur, GA gathered together to celebrate the send-off of a 40-foot container of medical humanitarian aid shipment for Kenya.  This project was generously sponsored by the US-based healthcare supply chain corporation MedAssets, and UPS provided shipping of the container from MedShare’s dock all the way to the beneficiary’s door in Nairobi.

MedShare staff, and Kimberly Clark retirees, nurses at Atlanta Medical Center and Kennestone, Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, and regular volunteer

The beneficiary is the Mully Children’s Family,  a non-profit Christian organization that cares for hundreds of homeless Kenyan children and also hosts monthly medical mission teams of doctors and nurses who need better supplies and equipment for their important humanitarian work.

MedShare's warehouse staff loading the container

The container shipped today is carrying almost 20,000 lbs of medical supplies and equipment, including :

  • an ultrasound machine
  • brand-new operating lights
  • bandages
  • sheets
  • gauze pads
  • and much more!

Thank you to MedAssets, UPS, and all others who contributed to making this project a reality!

Volunteering to Save Lives

Have you volunteered at MedShare recently? Your boxes could be going to save lives on one of our upcoming shipments!

A container being loaded with volunteer sorted and packed medical supplies

July:

August:

To sign up for a volunteer session in either our San Leandro or Decatur warehouse, click here.

Volunteers Make the MedShare World Go Around!

Though we’ve said it time and time before, we can’t say it enough: volunteers make the MedShare world go around. Sorting medical supplies is a huge task, and the work that volunteers do is what enables us to accomplish our mission of bridging the gap between surplus and need.

This morning, we wanted to share a few photos we snapped of volunteers hard at work:

Volunteers in our Decatur sort room hard at work

Emory Healthcare's Occupational Injury Management team doing a second-sort

Happy birthday to our longtime volunteer Jane Gole!

What exactly do volunteers do?

We utilize 15,000 volunteers each year (12,000 in GA and 3,000 in CA). Their primary role is to sort the medical supplies donated by hospitals and manufacturers. (Each week, we receive about 20,000 lbs of donated medical supplies!) Volunteers sort and group similar supplies together into boxes. The boxes are then entered by a staff member into an inventory system, sent to the warehouse, and after being requested by a medical facility, are then shipped out and used to save lives!

To sign up for a volunteer session in either our San Leandro or Decatur warehouse, 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.

MedShare Ships Containers to World’s Soon-to-be Newest Nation

Earlier this year, officials in Southern Sudan announced the preliminary tally for the referendum on splitting Africa’s largest country in two. The results were an avalanche as nearly 99 percent voted to secede from the north. Thus, Southern Sudan will become the world’s newest nation in July. On May 19, 2011, MedShare supported the health of this nation by shipping two 40-foot ocean containers of medical humanitarian aid for Juba Teaching Hospital.

One of two Juba Teaching Hospital containers leaving MedShare

Sudan is a low-income country with a GDP per capita of US $700. Bolstered by higher oil production, good harvest and a continuing boom in construction and services, the economy has recently grown at a faster pace. However, this growth has been unevenly distributed and is geographically concentrated in central states around the capital city. There are huge urban-rural and regional disparities in health conditions as the Southern states are more deprived and underserved. There is also a high burden of infectious diseases in the country and epidemics of infectious diseases are common.

The nation of Sudan still faces challenges that jeopardize the chances of recovering the healthcare system. Among these are:

  • The excessive burden of communicable diseases, e.g. malaria, tuberculosis, hepatitis, vaccine-preventable diseases, and other neglected tropical diseases in the South and the emerging problems of non-communicable disease and of HIV/AIDS. Further areas of concern are high maternal and child mortality as well as widespread malnutrition.
  • The country is prone to natural disasters such as floods and droughts. While these disrupt infrastructure, including that of the healthcare system, they also cause illness and bring suffering through displacement, loss of shelter, food and income, thus posing a greater demand on the already weak and disrupted health system.
  • Since the main focus has so far been on humanitarian action, recovery and development of the health system has been largely overlooked with an overemphasis placed on clinical care.

The containers are carrying a combined total of over 17,800 lbs of donated medical supplies for the hospital, including 221 hospital mattresses, an oxygen concentrator, infant warmer, pulse oximeter, ventilator, nebulizers, syringes, Personal Energy Transportation vehicles, surgical masks, splints, gauze, band-aids, and much more.

Many people were critically important in making this shipment possible, both within and outside of MedShare. The UPS Foundation aided with the shipment of the containers, Esther Sprague and the faculty and students at the University of California Davis were vital in initiating this project, and the Juba Teaching Hospital staff was a pleasure to work with while ordering supplies. Hewlett-Packard also contributed $5,000 for these container shipments.

Most of all, though, we’d like to recognize our Western Region volunteers for taking on this project as a fundraising initiative. Before our volunteers got involved, a UC Davis group had been trying for over a year to raise money for the container. As of October 2010, they were lacking the $8,000 needed to cover the extra costs associated with the shipping to Southern Sudan. So, our volunteers stepped in. We challenged them to raise the remaining amount, and as is so typical of MedShare volunteers, this group went above and beyond. They collected almost $10,000 – enough to ship a second container of supplies!

Roughly the size of Texas, Southern Sudan consists of 10 states. Both the U. S. Government and private organizations have committed to helping Southern Sudan build a strong state, and MedShare is proud to be among these supporters. Healthcare is an important issue in this developing nation, and the two shipments of medical supplies and equipment will go a long way toward improving the quality of care available.

This is an excerpt from June’s e-newsletter. To read more – including a story of a medical mission team in Ethiopia and an 86 year-old volunteer – click here.