The Ark Newspaper: Surplus Medical Supplies Make an Impact

Last week, MedShare was featured in The Ark Newspaper, a paper that serves the California towns Tiburon, Belvedere, and Strawberry. Two of our Western Regional Council members, Mary Bersot and Doug Grey, are from Tiburon, and they’re profiled in this article.

Take a moment to read the article:

Surplus Medical Supplies Make an Impact

By Ann Mizel

MedShare, a nonprofit organization ranked one of the most efficient charities in the United States by Charity Navigator, is making a huge difference in the lives of people around the world who have little access to quality healthcare, and two Tiburon residents, Mary Bersot and Dr. Douglas Grey, are deeply committed to the organization, serving on its national board.

Grey, who has retired from Kaiser Permanente as a vasular surgeon, remains at Kaiser as vice-chair, National Product Council, and is co-chair of the Technology Coordinating Group of Northern California as well as vice-chair of the Western Regional Council for MedShare. “MedShare is my second career,” he told The Ark.

Bersot, of Bersot Capital Management of Tiburon, is chair of MedShare’s Western Regional Council. “We collect usable medical surplus, except pharmaceuticals, from 29 California hospitals, including Marin General, and healthcare facilities that would otherwsie go into landfills adn incinerators and send the surplus to qualified healthcare facilites in the developing world,” Bersot explained.

The supplies sent abroad in 40-foot ocean containers of 1,000 boxes includes sutures, surgical instruments, IV sets, gloves, exam tables, stephescopes, wheelchair, sterilizers, infant incubators, blood pressure monitors and defibrillators. Qualified surplus medical supplies are also made available to free clinics in California and Georgia. (MedShare’s headquarters is in Decatur, Georgia, an Atlanta suburb.)

Grey’s focus is biomedical supplies – “anything that gets plugged in,” he said. “Either you reuse or throw out. MedShare’s biomedical engineer and technician restore and repair all donated equipment, so recipient hospitals are able to effectively operate the equipment they receive.”

MedShare, which has earned a Green Business certification, has become a passion for Grey, who sees “the magic of this,” when he speaks of MedShare, its efficient inventory system, fully screened recipients and contribution tot he environment.

Both Grey and Bersot emphasized the tremendous impact that can be made with even very few doanted supplies, and that for every $20,000 investment – the cost of sending one 12,000-pound container – $155,000 worth of desperated needed medical supplies and equipment will reach those in need. “We raised $20,000 in two months for a recent shipment to the Kingdom of Tongo,” said Bersot, who added that average tax-deductible donations are in the $50 to $100 range. “Our story is an easy story to tell.”

MedShare is able to keep overhead low because of its dedicated volunteers – 3,000 in the Bay Area – who work at MedShare’s distribution center in San Leandro, sorting and packaging donations by type, size and date of expiration. (Volunteers can sign up online.) Because of a huge outpouring of support from volunteers as well as donors right after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, MedShare was able to ship 27 containers to needy hospitals in that country.

Board members of MedShare make yearly trips abroad, so Bersot and Grey will be able to see firsthand some of their good work when they visit Kenya next year. “We see our work with MedShare as a way to reach out around the world, much like Peace Corps workers, but from afar,” said Bersot. Without being physically present, they are touching and saving lives every day.

To learn how you can help, visit MedShare’s website at www.medshare.org, contact Executive Director Chuck Haupt at chaupt@medshare.org, or call 510-567-7070.

Thanks to Mary, Doug, Ann Mizel, and Chuck Haupt for making this article come to fruition!

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