News & Events

The Mass General Center for Global Health (CGH) Office of Global Disaster Response (GDR) was working overtime this fall, deploying four teams of medical professionals to respond to three natural disasters and an ongoing humanitarian crisis.

Office of Global Disaster Response Provides Relief at Home and Abroad

The Mass General Center for Global Health (CGH) Office of Global Disaster Response (GDR) was working overtime this fall, deploying four teams of medical professionals to respond to three natural disasters and an ongoing humanitarian crisis. Fourteen MGH employees provided hundreds of hours of medical care domestically and abroad while serving as volunteers with International Medical Corps (IMC), Americares and the U.S. Southern Command.

Super Typhoon Yutu
Super Typhoon Yutu, the second strongest recorded storm to ever hit the United States or its territories, struck the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) on October 24 causing catastrophic damage. The Category 5 equivalent storm killed two people, injured 133 and left the entirety of both major islands, Tinian and Saipan, without power. Thousands of homes were destroyed, and many of the Commonwealth’s 50,000 residents quickly filled emergency shelters.

CGH GDR deployed a team of five to Saipan on November 5 to serve as volunteers with the nonprofit Americares. Team leader Lynn Black, MD, MPH (CGH GDR, Medical Walk-In), Carmela Berlin, RPh (Pharmacy), Elise Perkins, RN (Emergency Department), Jean Bernhardt, NP (Charlestown Healthcare Center) and Jennifer Samiotes, RN (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) carried out the mission of providing a professional response to those affected by Typhoon Yutu.

The team, labeled “Americares Team Alpha”, worked out of one of the two centers operated by the Commonwealth Health Care Corporation on Saipan. The nurses worked 12 hour shifts on the medical-surgical floor, while Ms. Berlin was stationed at the Pharmacy. Dr. Black relieved two US Public Health Service physicians and provided surveillance tracking, treating and reporting.

USNS Comfort
On October 10, MGH GDR deployed a team of four to serve aboard the United States Naval Ship (USNS) Comfort to assist military personnel and other partners in U.S. Southern Command's Enduring Promise initiative. Kim Waugh, RN (Pediatrics), Kristen Wilson, RN (Ellison 3 Post Anesthesia Care Unit, Ellison 4 Surgical Intensive Care Unit), Amanda Tetreault, PT (Sports Medicine) and team leader Lindsey Martin, NP (CGH, Blake 12 Intensive Care Unit), assisted with the team mission to provide a professional response to those affected by the ongoing political crisis of Venezuelan migrants seeking basic food, medical care, and shelter in the neighboring countries of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Brazil.

The MGH team served with approximately 96 non-military personnel representing academic institutions, nongovernmental organizations as well as several other countries. During their 32-day mission the Mercy-class hospital ship was docked off of Peru and Ecuador and served over 10,000 patients.

Hurricane Michael
Hurricane Michael made landfall on Wednesday, October 10 as the third largest storm ever recorded in the US. An MGH team was recruited to work with partner organization International Medical Corps (IMC) to help those affected in Florida. Immediate needs besides first aid and supportive clinical care included food, water, water purification kits, construction material, electric generators, fuel, hygiene kits and home supplies.

Named the “IMC Alpha Team”, the MGH squad was comprised of team leader Maya Ginns, NP (Internal Medicine Associates), Susan Goguen, RN (Special Care Nursery Ellison 13), Karla Haney, RN (Medicine/Oncology Ellison 16), Philip Manners, MD (Hospital Medicine Unit) and Amy Cameron, PA (Emergency Medicine).

In addition to this GDR response, MGH also had a number of employees respond to this disaster as members of the federal Disaster Medical Assistance Team MA -1. MGHers serving on the federal team included Paul Biddinger, MD, Jacky Nally, RN, Dave Mather, Monica Staples, RN, Lisa Anahory, RN, and Allison Curtis, RN.

Hurricane Florence
In September, Hurricane Florence caused catastrophic damage to the Carolina region, dropping upwards of 36 inches of rain and causing dozens of fatalities. A GDR Strike Team departed for Raleigh, North Carolina on September 16 for a six-day deployment.

The mission was to help International Medical Corps (IMC) assess the clinical capacity that they could provide given the on the ground circumstance and help describe the personnel and material needs for a subsequent IMC response. The MGH team included deployment veterans Lindsey Martin, NP (CGH, Blake 12 Intensive Care Unit) and Lynn Black, MD, MPH (CGH, Medical Walk In).