Massachusetts Medical Society: Hurricane Disaster Response

Hurricane Disaster Response

The natural disasters this country has recently faced have resulted in a level of devastation and human suffering that is unimaginable. The Massachusetts Medical Society is directly contributing funds to state medical societies in states impacted by the hurricanes, to help physicians rebuild their practices.

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 October 15, 2017 will be matched and the funds will support ongoing relief efforts in states and territories impacted this hurricane season.

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

Global Giving
Hurricane Maria caused devastating destruction and flooding in the Caribbean, destroying homes in Puerto Rico, Dominica, and the Virgin Islands just two weeks after Hurricane Irma. This fund will provide relief to survivors in the form of emergency supplies like food, water, and medicine in addition to longer-term recovery assistance to help residents recover and rebuild. All donations to this fund will exclusively support any necessary hurricane relief and recovery efforts in the Caribbean.

Virgin Islands Relief Fund
Virgin Islands Relief Fund Inc. is a Florida non-profit corporation, organized exclusively for charitable purposes including the acceptance and distribution of donated funds and goods to the people of the Virgin Islands affected by hurricanes Irma, and Maria. Their mission is to effectively respond to the rescue, relief, and rebuilding needs of the Virgin Islands, and focus on building a sustainable infrastructure for the future.

Foundation for Puerto Rico (“FPR”), one of the largest endowed public charities in Puerto Rico, is currently fully dedicated to relief, recovery and rebuilding efforts on the Island which was devastated by Hurricane Maria.

Puerto Rico Real-time Recovery Fund is a fund organized and by the non-profit ConPRmetidos in partnership with Foundation for Puerto Rico, a 501(c)(3) corporation, which is acting as the fiscal sponsor. All donations are 100% tax-deductible and currently being used for (1) needs assessment efforts,(2)  long-term structural repairs to the most vulnerable communities, and (3) power as a service.

Community Foundation of Puerto Rico has established the Puerto Rico Recovery Fund. The mission of the community foundation is to develop the capacities of communities in Puerto Rico, to achieve their social and economic transformation, philanthropic investment and maximizing the performance of each contribution.

Texas Medical Association Foundation
The Disaster Relief Fund provides 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.

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
Donors can help support physicians impacted by recent hurricanes. Funds will be used to re-establish the delivery of patient care in physician practices. 

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 Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

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
Charity Navigator has compiled a list of highly-rated organizations responding to natural disaster to help you give generously and with confidence.


Volunteer Information

Relief Efforts for the US Virgin Islands
Physicians and medical practices are encouraged to donate medical supplies and medications to help victims of Hurricane Irma in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration
For up to date information on disaster relief efforts.

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.

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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