Bea Caruso, center, with friends Kathy Haney, left, and Barb McGee.
“We staged the drive for Global Links in honor of Bea Caruso,” wrote Adrienne Walnoha, CEO of Community Human Services (CHS). “Bea had been at CHS for 38 years and gave ‘birth’ to our health programs. She grew up in a small town and became a nurse because she had three choices: nurse, teacher or secretary. She devoted her entire life to community based nursing and taking care of people in their homes and communities. We thought a drive for Global Links was a perfect way to celebrate her commitment to health and grassroots community support.”
CHS was begun in 1970 by a small group of South Oakland neighbors who banded together to stabilize the community they loved and provide resources for those in need. From a storefront drop-in center that gave residents a chance to get to know each other, to the much larger organization it is today, CHS has stayed true to its purpose of extending care to places where people live and work, rather than operating from one central location. “Such a system,” according to their website, “integrates people and helps reestablish community while assisting persons at risk.”
At Bea Caruso’s party, staff, friends, and neighbors brought in donations for Global Links New Baby bags, items carefully chosen by our partners overseas for what would be appropriate in their communities. The bags are given to new and expectant mothers to encourage prenatal care and attended deliveries – to help medical staff catch any potential problems early in the pregnancy and hopefully head off medical emergencies.
We are so pleased that this unique organization chose to honor their friend in this way – by reaching out to improve maternal/infant health in a community far from their own.
Read more about Global Links New Baby Collection and visit our Target.com registry for items you can contribute – we especially need baby clothes!
CHS’s Gary Hartford got some help from SCA Green Cities Fellow Orly Stampfer and Volunteer Supervisor Kate Gascoine when he dropped off the donated supplies.
One recent Saturday, a team of operating room nurses, techs and administrative staff from UPMC St. Margaret came to Global Links to sort surgical instruments and gloves. This team of ten women was here for two hours on their day off, and got through hundreds of instruments and boxes of gloves.
Sharing their expertise in identifying instruments enables Global Links to pack appropriately for life-saving surgeries in resource-poor communities. Because of their help, the surgical staff at our partner hospitals will be able to provide the best care possible for their patients – something all medical personnel want to do.
And the gloves this crew packed will help our partner hospitals maintain sanitary conditions. Global Links included almost 100,000 gloves in a recent donation to Haiti, which is still battling a devastating outbreak of cholera. Read more about the importance of gloves and other supplies – packed by volunteers – here.
And while they were carrying out this life-saving work, it seemed as though they enjoyed themselves. “I had a blast,” wrote one participant. “What a great group! I had a lot of fun,” wrote another.
“Thanks to everyone for participating in a wonderful experience!” wrote Gayle McLaughlin, RN, CNOR, who organized the volunteer group. “Looking forward to making a return visit to support a great cause!!”
We can’t wait until this team of dynamos from St. Margaret’s comes back!
Carol Lundy RN knows how important wound care, breathing equipment, formula and diapers are when caring for pediatric patients. As one of the dedicated nurses on the Inpatient Pediatric Unit at the Western Pennsylvania Hospital, she sets aside unused supplies from patient rooms for Global Links. Hospital regulations prevent those items stocked in one patient’s room from being used for another patient in the hospital. At Global Links, supplies from nurses like Carol are checked, sorted, and sent to hospitals in underserved areas around the world, where they save lives, and make patients more comfortable. It has been our privilege, during National Nurses Week, to salute a few of the many nurses who support our work.
Carol Lundy knows how important basic supplies are in caring for her young patients.
Ann Terputac was primarily a trauma nurse at Allegheny General Hospital before she retired. She saw the need for supplies in resource-poor areas when she hand-carried sutures, lice medication and other materials from Global Links to Mozambique through a mission program at her church. Oh that trip, she was given one mask for herself to wear for ten days working with tuberculosis patients. She found Global Links when she was preparing for that trip and came on a Global Links to Health tour – and says she was delighted to learn that a medical supply recovery organization like this existed. She says she is glad to be part of an organization that puts surplus to good use, and recognizes the importance of sending exactly the right donation to help a resource-poor hospital provide the best care it can to its patients.
Ann found Global Links when she was preparing for a trip to Mozambique.
Ciara Biggs has worked on the 5300 medical surgical unit at Magee Women’s Hospital of UPMC since 2008. This unit is the strongest collection site in the hospital and Ciara is a big supporter of Global Links. When asked why she makes the extra effort to put supplies in the bin, she said, “It’s a shame to waste things that aren’t going to be used from a patient’s room or from our pockets. Why not send it to someone that can use it?”
Ciara Biggs works in the strongest collection site in all of Magee-Womens Hospital.
Barbara Reichbaum packing medical supplies at the Global Links warehouse.
Barbara Reichbaum worked at the VA as a cardiovascular clinical specialist, but spent most of her career as the Senior Quality Manager at the VA in Pittsburgh. After retiring from the VA, she worked in a private home care agency as the Director of Quality/Nursing for four years. Barbara says she enjoys being able to bring her knowledge and background to the job, and that improving the quality of healthcare in other countries while reducing waste in her own country are goals that are important to her. She works regularly at Global Links packing supplies, recruits new volunteers on college campuses, and encourages nurses in home care organizations to donate unused supplies. She says she loves talking to other nurses and asking them to imagine taking care of patients without gloves, bandages or the basics needed to do their job.
Todd Spencer, a nurse at Children’s Hospitals of Pittsburgh of UPMC, directs medical surplus to Global Links, helps to sort and pack, and has seen it in use on medical service trips.
Todd Spencer is an RN in the Pediatric ICU at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. He has personally spearheaded efforts to help educate his peers about putting unused, unexpired supplies in the Global Links bin on his unit. He has traveled to Haiti on a medical service trip and has seen what a difference surplus materials from the US healthcare system can make when struggling to care for a patient in a resource-poor area. Although he often works the night shift, he also finds the time to volunteer at Global Links’ packing and sorting center. He has taken part in the entire Global Links virtuous circle: donating usable surplus supplies rather than discarding them; carefully sorting and packing donations; using surplus supplies to improve health in an underserved area. We salute Todd and nurses like him for making a difference every day.