Emory nurses help MedShare organize critically needed ostomy supplies

Over the past 15 years, MedShare has shipped more than 1,100 ocean containers filled with urgently needed medical supplies to 96 countries around the world. Emory Healthcare and Emory University have long served as major allies in helping MedShare accomplish its mission. Through Emory, MedShare has been able to connect with hundreds of volunteers willing to offer their time and expertise. Volunteers sort, inspect and pack unused and unexpired medical supplies, which are then shipped to hospitals and clinics in developing countries. In fact, Emory volunteers have contributed 1,739 hours in the past 18 months alone.

On Saturday, December 20, 2014, nurses from the Wound Ostomy and
Continence Nursing (WOCN) Department at Emory Healthcare
went above and beyond a normal volunteer role.  MedShare collects a large Ostomypicvolume of ostomy supplies, but lacked the medical expertise to organize these items into detailed categories. This is an essential step for shipping supplies abroad. Doctors and nurses in the hospital will directly order the supplies they need from MedShare, ensuring they only get what is useful and necessary. Yet this can’t happen unless MedShare’s categories are exactly on point. By putting their specialized knowledge to work at MedShare’s southeast distribution center, Emory’s wound ostomy and continence nurses made this all possible.

Alvaro McRae, MedShare’s volunteer program manager, first spoke with Martha Tamblyn, RN, WOCN, about their department volunteering on Emory Cares Day. “She was very open to helping, and having her team involved with developing our ostomy sort was the perfect project,” said McRae. Martha then helped MedShare develop the 24 product classifications needed to sort our ostomy supplies.

The WOCN Department volunteer group, including Dorothy Doughty, Rose Murphree, Cynthia Timms and her two sons, were part of a three-hour Saturday session that sorted over 200 pounds of ostomy products at MedShare for the first time in three years, creating a blueprint for future ostomy product sorts.  After the session, Dorothy Doughty, director of the WOC Nursing Education Center (WOCNEC), and Rose Murphree, WOCNEC’s program director, offered ideas how to make it easier for volunteers without a medical background to assist in future sorts of ostomy products, and how to box these particular supplies to enhance the quality of packaging for our partner hospitals and clinics around the world.

The team has already signed up for another volunteer shift in March to complete the ostomy sort they began in December. The Wound Ostomy & Continence Nursing team’s skills and expertise will be felt around the world as our partner hospital put these supplies to work treating patients and saving lives.

To volunteer at MedShare, please contact Alvaro McRae, Volunteer Program Manager at amcrae@medshare.org or Breauna Hagan, Programs Associate, at bhagan@medshare.org.

 

 

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Commemorating MLK’s Legacy as an Interfaith Leader

Commemorating MLK’s Legacy as an Interfaith Leader

On January 16, volunteers from Morehouse College, Emory University, YouthUniverse, and the Maynard Jackson Youth Foundation will converge for a Day of Interfaith Service at MedShare

Keynote reflections will be offered at 9:15 AM by Rev. Robert H. Hughes, Founder of the Generator Development Group and YouthUniverse

Rev. Robert H. Hughes, M.Div. seeks to live out his faith in God through direct action and service, everyday. Rob has made a lifetime commitment to invest in growing spiritual, ethical, sustainable, and moral leadership in urban environments and organizations. In 2007, Rob founded the Generator Development Group, LLC and YouthUniverse in Atlanta, Georgia to build capacity in local community leadership and to serve youth and young adult development through producing live events, educational media programs, cultural training and neighborhood quality of life projects.

In his faith community, Rob was ordained for pastoral leadership in Christian ministry in 2009 by Providence Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta. He currently serves as an Executive Committee Board Member with Concerned Black Clergy of Metropolitan Atlanta, as a General Board Member with the Faith Alliance of Metropolitan Atlanta and with the Future Foundation. In summer 2005, Rob traveled to Jerusalem with the Atlanta-based World Pilgrims, an interfaith group of clergy and community leaders seeking common ground.

Rob is currently a doctoral student in Urban Ministry at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. He is a 2005 Master of Divinity degree honors graduate of the Morehouse School of Religion at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta. He completed his practical ministry experience with the United States Congressional District Office of Congressman John Lewis. In 1996, he earned his Bachelor of Science in Communication from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.

For more information, please contact MedShare’s Faiths Act Fellows, Clint Fluker (cfluker@medshare.org) or Sana Rahim (srahim@medshare.org). 

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.

Our Duty on 9/11

By: Sana Rahim, MedShare’s Faiths Act Fellow

Sana Rahim (L) and Clint Fluker, MedShare's Faiths Act Fellows, leading a volunteer sort session

When I asked Emory students to tell me the first word that comes to mind when they think of 9/11, Rami Tabba responded with “duty.”

Amidst the tragedy and destruction that September 11, 2011 wreaked in the United States, it also called upon ordinary citizens to become life-saving heroes. Rami reflected on how thousands of Americans went above and beyond the call of duty to serve their fellow citizens.

It was a similar sense of duty that drew 45 students from Emory University to sort medical supplies at MedShare on the 10th anniversary of September 11th. After a tour and orientation at the MedShare facility, students sorted 1,032 pounds and packaged 74 boxes of medical supplies and equipment. These boxes could be sent to hospitals in Kenya, Paraguay, or Bangladesh- some of the countries in the upcoming shipment schedule.

After the sorting session, students were asked to reflect on ideas of unity and overcoming difference. They candidly discussed how communities came together and, how certain communities faced alienation and discrimination after 9/11.

When the students were asked why they had chosen to serve on 9/11, the response was almost universal. It was simply the right thing to do according to the students. Many reflected that serving on 9/11 together endowed them with a powerful sense of community. As a local group in Atlanta, they had come together to make a global impact.

The Emory students that came together at MedShare that day represented multiple narratives; different faith backgrounds, cultural histories, and personal ambitions. On a day that often brings back memories of violence, hate, and division, they came together in solidarity to help create a more just and equitable world.

~

As a Faiths Act Fellows at MedShare, I hope to continue to work with new communities at MedShare for days of service and reflection. If you are interested in organizing an interfaith sorting session, or any other activity, please reach out to me at srahim@medshare.org or my partner Clint Fluker at cfluker@medshare.org

You can read more about the Faiths Act Fellowship at www.faithsactfellows.org.

A Volunteer’s Perspective: Emory’s OIM Team Volunteers at MedShare

Emory is one of MedShare’s longest partners, and we’re grateful for the wonderful relationship we’ve had with them over the years. From donating medical supplies and equipment to providing volunteers each month, Emory University and Emory Healthcare helps us achieve our mission of bridging the gap between surplus and need.

Recently, a group of workers from Emory Healthcare’s Occupational Injury Management (OIM) team volunteered at MedShare, and wrote this great article detailing their experience that we wanted to share with you. Enjoy!

Volunteering at MedShare

By Connie Wilbanks and the Occupational Injury Management staff

Emory's OIM team sorting medical supplies

While in a department retreat recently, the Occupational Injury Management (OIM) team reviewed EHC’s Employer Commitment. We wanted to see how well we were meeting the eight commitments embraced by Emory Healthcare.

The last commitment, Our Community, encourages us to participate in EHC-sponsored programs, such as the Employee Hardship Donation Program, which assists fellow employees suffering financial hardships.

From disaster-torn Haiti and tornado-ravaged Alabama to our individual volunteer contributions within our own communities, it seemed like we all put in volunteer time. Now, we were ready for a group volunteer project to fulfill this important commitment. Plus, a group project was sure to help our department be a stronger team.

We spent a morning at MedShare in Decatur, and, in short, we had a blast! We had our own sawhorse and plywood table and became “sorting soldiers.” There were instruments and medical supplies of all shapes, sizes and colors. As health care workers, we thought we had a definite advantage in identifying the right names for these supplies. There were a few hiccups, though — some items were labeled in other languages and there were specialized items unfamiliar to our staff. This didn’t deter us and actually spurred us on as we imagined the use of the unfamiliar items!

We enjoyed our experience at MedShare and our time spent together as a vibrant team. Somehow, I think the experience was more beneficial for us individually, and as a team, than for those who will be recipients of our efforts.

We encourage other teams to share a fun and rewarding experience by volunteering at MedShare.

To volunteer, call 770-323-5858, or check them out online at http://www.medshare.org to find out more about their services and volunteer opportunities.

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.

Emory University Donated Beds Sent to Ecuador

Ecuador

On April 29, a 40-foot ocean container carrying 50 donated hospital beds and mattresses was shipped from MedShare’s Southeastern Regional Distribution Center.  The donations are on their way to Ibarra, a city in northern Ecuador.  The local municipality of Gonzalo Pizarro will be installing the beds in several rural health centers that have been affected by recent heavy seasonal rains, which have washed out roads and caused multiple injuries in the local populations.  These hospital beds are most urgently needed there!

Donated Hospital Beds

MedShare sends deep gratitude to the Atlanta-based Emory University  Hospital and Emory Midtown Hospital for this generous donation which will benefit so many needy Ecuadorian families.