Hurricane Disaster Response

We are all are painfully aware of the ongoing disaster in the area of Houston and the surrounding communities. And now, the impact on the state of Florida. The level of devastation and human suffering is unimaginable

Both the Texas Medical Association Disaster Relief Fund and the Florida Medical Association – Foundation for Healthy Floridians Medical Disaster Fund are accepting donations to help reestablish the delivery of patient care and practices in federally designated disaster areas damaged by the wrath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

In an effort to encourage and maximize giving, MMS has committed to match the first $75,000 in member and district medical society contributions made to organizations providing hurricane relief. Members should email Jennifer Day with the amount of their donation, the organization receiving the donation, and the date the donation was made. Contributions made through September 30, 2017 will be matched and the funds will support ongoing relief efforts in states and territories already impacted this hurricane season as well as those which may, unfortunately, be affected in the coming days and weeks.

Below please find opportunities to lend your support to charitable and volunteer efforts, as well as resources on past hurricanes and the impact on public health and the healthcare infrastructure.

The following information is provided for informational purposes only. The MMS does not recommend or endorse the organizations listed below.

Charitable Donations

Texas Medical Association FOUNDATION – Disaster Relief Fund
The TMA Foundation is soliciting funds to use for grants to help reestablish the delivery of patient care in physician practices in federally designated disaster areas damaged by Hurricane Harvey. The program will help cover expenses (not covered by insurance or other sources of funding) for relocating or rehabilitating a physician’s medical office. This may include replacing equipment, aiding needed staff, rebuilding patient records, and other similar needs all towards the goal of helping affected physicians once again begin treating their patients. Tax-deductible donations will support TMA’s Disaster Relief Program, administered by the Physicians Benevolent Fund.

Florida Medical Association – Foundation for Healthy Floridians
The Medical Disaster Fund provides support to physicians whose practices have been impacted by natural disasters.

National Association of Free Clinics – Disaster Relief Fund
Free and Charitable Clinics are the communities’ response to their health care needs. In times of disaster, Free and Charitable Clinics serve as first responders to help people access health care, medications and supplies that they need.

The Community Foundation of North Louisiana – Disaster Relief Fund
This fund provides grants to local nonprofits like Goodwill Industries, Providence House and others who serve those affected by natural and manmade disasters. Funds currently being collected will support relief efforts for Hurricane Harvey. 

American Medical Association Foundation – Physician Disaster Recovery Fund
Amid the devastation inflicted by Hurricane Harvey are doctors who need to quickly rebuild their medical practices to continue serving their communities in Houston and the southern coastal regions in Texas. Funds will support the Texas Medical Association Foundation (TMAF) to help reestablish the delivery of patient care in physician practices in federally designated disaster areas damaged by Hurricane Harvey.

American Red Cross
The American Red Cross is working around the clock along the Gulf Coast to help the thousands of people whose lives have been devastated by Hurricane Harvey.

Direct Relief
Direct Relief provides targeted assistance to help safety net providers prepare for and respond to emergencies. Response efforts—which include distribution of pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, personal care items, equipment, and cash—are swift, involve local partners, and are coordinated with other nonprofit organizations and public health authorities to ensure the most effective use of resources.  

Charity Navigator Hot Topic – Hurricane Harvey
Charity Navigator has compiled a list of highly-rated organizations responding in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and providing assistance to the people and communities affected by it.


Volunteer Information

Florida State Emergency Response Team
For up to date information on Hurricane Irma.

Texas Medical Board
Texas has temporarily suspended barriers that prevent out-of-state health care providers from working with disaster response teams to assist victims of Hurricane Harvey. The temporary permit is good for 30 days at no charge. Those who apply need to be sponsored by a licensed Texas physician.

American Red Cross
If you are interested in deploying for at least nine days to help those in Texas affected by Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath, the American Red Cross has created a three-step web process that physicians and other health professionals can follow to learn details, determine eligibility, and start a volunteer application. Learn more

National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster
Do not self-deploy.  Volunteers should link up with affiliates or organizations training individuals in order to assist Texas in a cohesive and organized fashion and to avoid a hindrance on response and recovery efforts. Do not send or bring unsolicited donations of goods. Texas is still in the response phase and is unable to accommodate any material goods at this time. Unsolicited donations create a challenge of storage and sorting when focus is needed on response and recovery. 



Louisiana State Medical Society – Educational & Research Foundation
The Health Care and Disaster Planning project documented the lessons learned from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The final report examines the major breakdowns and failures of emergency preparedness plans and responses related to health care in an effort to educate physicians and the health care community on the need to reassess their emergency preparedness plans in light of the lessons Louisiana learned.

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita: role of individuals and collaborative networks in mobilizing/coordinating societal and professional resources for major disasters
The medical support for the coordinated effort for Harris County Texas (Houston) to rescue evacuees from New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina was part of an integrated collaborative network. Both public health and operational health care was structured to custom meet the needs of the evacuees and to create an exit strategy for the clinic and shelter. Integrating local hospital and physician resources into the Joint Incident Command was essential. Outside assistance, including federal and national resources must be coordinated through the local incident command.

Hospital Emergency Preparedness and Response During Superstorm Sandy
Department of Health and Human Services, Offices of the Inspector General, September 2015

“After Hurricane Sandy: Lessons Learned for Bolstering the Resilience of Health Systems and Services”
Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security, Northeastern University & Columbia University’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness, December 2013

After the Storm — Health Care Infrastructure in Post-Katrina New Orleans
Ruth E. Berggren, M.D., and Tyler J. Curiel, M.D., M.P.H.
N Engl J Med 2006; 354:1549-1552, April 13, 2006,  DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp068039

Lessons from Sandy — Preparing Health Systems for Future Disasters
Irwin Redlener, M.D., and Michael J. Reilly, Dr.P.H., M.P.H.
N Engl J Med 2012; 367:2269-2271, December 13, 2012, DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1213486

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