January 26, 2010

Haiti Relief

As the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti continues to command the attention of the world, all of us are continuing to ask what we can do to help.

Those who wish to participate in a relief activity involving travel are urged to speak with their supervisor, department chair, or division chief prior to making arrangements to make sure the appropriate steps are taken. These steps may include working through the proper professional or relief agency, assuring that work responsibilities at Vanderbilt are covered during any absence, as well as any other details which may vary with each individual situation.

We are aware the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services seeks to partner with the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) to identify specialty physicians who are willing to volunteer to deploy with HHS National Disaster Medical Assistance teams in Haiti.

Specifically, they are looking for trauma surgeons, orthopedists and anesthesiologists or others with experience and capability treating crush injuries. Volunteers should be willing to work for at least a two-week period, and to live and work in austere conditions.

Preference is for Creole or French speakers and those currently credentialed through the Medical Reserve Corps in their states, or the ESAR-VHP (Emergency Services Advanced Registration of Volunteer Health Personnel) program.

Because volunteers need to be credentialed as temporary federal employees, volunteers will need to be able to provide credentialing paperwork as soon as asked. Credentialing normally takes about a week. Volunteers with these clinical skills may contact Michala Koch at Michala.Koch@hhs.gov. The agency is clear that it may not be able to accommodate everyone who wishes to help, and may not be able to get back directly to those without the requisite skills.

To read last week’s message from the Chancellor about Haiti, visit

To see a list of agencies engaged in Haiti relief, visit

To read the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) response to Haiti, visit http://www.aamc.org/haiti/.

To read the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Response to Haiti, visit

To read The American Association for the Surgery of Trauma’s response to Haiti, visit http://www.aast.org/.