Message from the President and CEO Regarding Hurricane Harvey
When the rain finally stops, the devastating impact of Hurricane Harvey on the people of Houston and much of the surrounding region will continue for months to years. Damage to the region has exceeded the dire predictions preceding the storm’s arrival.
We are saddened by the loss of life, and are concerned for the millions of people who are now displaced, along with the well-being of our colleagues working at Houston’s hospitals and health systems.
There are numerous alumni and former Medical Center colleagues who live in Houston and throughout the area in the storm’s wake who may now be facing personal hardships.
Medical students and other students in the health disciplines who are in training across the region could also face significant disruption. The American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) has been in contact with academic medical centers in southeast Texas and western Louisiana to offer assistance and support. Along with other centers, we have contacted the AAMC to offer our assistance.
The most up-to-date information on the region’s hospitals and health systems indicates one of the city’s major trauma centers, Ben Taub, experienced flooding and is planning to evacuate patients. Another six to 10 hospitals, along with an undetermined number of nursing homes, were evacuated as the storm was arriving.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is calling on Americans to help with the response to Hurricane Harvey through financial donations. There are a number of organizations that have established ways to donate online.
Having been through the Nashville flood of 2010 with our city facing its own challenges, we have a deeper understanding for what lies ahead once the waters recede. We will continue to look for ways we can support those impacted by this evolving tragedy.
Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D. President and CEO, VUMC Dean, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine