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Last year, the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) activated its emergency response protocol 20 times, more than in any previous year. It also expanded its response to include, for the first time, a donation drive that garnered thousands of donated supplies for victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.
In June, the Society was recognized with two prestigious awards for coordinating these efforts, once again bringing attention to the outpouring of support from the critical care community during crisis.
The Society graciously accepted The Institute of Medicine of Chicago’s Humanitarian Global Health Award and the American Society of Association Executives’ Power of A Award, which is one of the association industry’s highest honors.
“We are honored to receive these awards, which acknowledge the Society’s ongoing commitment to providing the Right Care, Right Now. We are humbled by the overwhelming response to our donation drive from so many members of the critical care community, who acted so quickly and generously to provide support for the most vulnerable of Hurricane Maria’s victims— the children of Puerto Rico,” said SCCM President Jerry J. Zimmerman, MD, PhD, FCCM.
The Society’s emergency response program was created to provide outreach and support to victims, as well as to those in the field providing medical care. As a disaster unfolds, the Society goes into emergency response mode, sending emails to keep the membership informed, releasing complimentary educational material via its Disaster Response website (sccm.org/disaster), and organizing critical care volunteers to provide medical care to victims.
In 2017, with the help of SCCM members from Puerto Rico, the Society established an Amazon Wishlist and allowed the public to choose items from the list to be shipped to SCCM headquarters. Thousands of supplies started pouring in, and SCCM staff and their families worked nights, weekends, and over the Columbus Day holiday to organize materials that needed to be shipped to the island.
The call for donations was shared widely throughout the media, including social media. More than 60 pallets of diapers, baby food, mosquito netting, bottles, clothing, and more were delivered to hospitals throughout Puerto Rico, including rural areas. SCCM also facilitated the donation of 10,000 ventilator filters, two mechanical ventilators, and numerous other medical supplies, such as antibiotics, through its industry partners. The Society’s CEO travelled to San Juan to meet the shipments and work with local SCCM members to help distribute supplies.
Thank you again to members of the critical care community, SCCM staff, our industry partners, and all those whose generosity has made a lasting impact.