The first team of 22 doctors, nurses and other health professionals from the University of Maryland Medical Center and the University of Maryland School of Medicine has left to work in Haiti.
Part of the group flew out on Thursday, January 28. That marked the beginning of a sustained, multi-week initiative - in partnership with Catholic Relief Services - to assist with the lifesaving medical care of survivors from the earthquake in Haiti. The first team, which will stay in Haiti for a week, is made up of surgical staff from the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center and four infectious disease specialists from the University of Maryland Institute of Human Virology.
The UM team will bring a large supply of medications and other medical supplies and will fly into Port-au-Prince. The team will work at the site of St. Francois de Sales Hospital, one of Haiti’s oldest hospitals, which was heavily damaged by the earthquake. The School of Medicine has a long-standing relationship with St. Francois hospital, because it is the site of an HIV/AIDS program operated through a partnership between the Institute of Human Virology and Catholic Relief Services.
About 150 health professionals from throughout the University of Maryland Medical Center and School of Medicine have volunteered to assist with the efforts in Haiti. Many of them will be on teams that will rotate every week to and from Haiti over the next few months.
The first team will be led by Thomas M. Scalea. MD, Physician-In-Chief of the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center and professor of Surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Dr. Scalea and other Shock Trauma staff have unique expertise in the types of traumatic injuries - orthopaedic as well as spine and head injuries - that they expect to treat in Haiti. The devastation in Haiti will not be a new experience for some members of the group. In June 2008, a team from Shock Trauma went to West China Hospital in Chengdu, Sichuan Province in China to assist with the medical care of survivors from a devastating earthquake there.
The first team also will include Andrew Pollak, MD, and Robert Redfield, MD. They traveled to Haiti the weekend before the first team left, to make a first-hand assessment of the medical needs there and help them prepare the team for its mission. Dr. Pollak is the head of Trauma Orthopaedics at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center and associate professor of Orthopaedics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Dr. Redfield is the chief of Infectious Diseases at the University of Maryland Medical Center and professor of Medicine and director of Clinical Care and Research at the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.