Our motto is ‘light and lighter; more mobile, more flexible, more cost-effective, less bureaucratic.’
Who We Are
We are highly motivated professionals that are driven by the need to help and not stand by while people suffer. Our medical teams, comprised of volunteers, are self-sustainable and self-sufficient, capable of operating in remote difficult areas that would otherwise not be served or as part of a larger, established humanitarian operation. We work with local and international partners, in conjunction with other aid organizations and report daily to the disaster governing body. We are doctors, nurses, paramedics, physician assistants, public health professionals and experienced disaster relief experts that collectively provide initial aid efforts while paving the path for the larger organizations.
NYCMedics was born in the Pakistani Earthquake of 2005, when ten paramedics from New York City banded together to fight the unbearable numbers being broadcast from the disaster; tens of thousands dead in the mountains, many more injured and dying. It was the year we watched the Tsunami hit Indonesia, Katrina wipe out New Orleans, and for the rescue workers in New York, it was time to take a stand.
This group of ten recruited additional members of physicians, nurses and physician assistants all of whom amassed medical equipment, food and basic living necessities for a journey into the deep of Pakistan; Azad Jammu & Kashmir at the Line of Control.
Kashmir, in the indisputable stunning lower Himalayas of Pakistan, had been cut off from the outside world by a land war with India for over 50 years. This mystical treacherous mountainous landscape, peppered with rebel training camps, was further isolated by the earthquake and was well outside the reach of the larger NGO’s that were focused closer to the epicenter in Muzzafrabad. NYCM was dropped in Seyan, which proved to be the ultimate test of their commitment. There they met with the Afghan military team taking over their medical operations expanding it further into the valley.
From Seyan, NYCM initiated mobile medical units, which came to be their model for future relief operations and a model that others would adopt. The difficult landscape isolated remote villages, where the Pakistan Military reported masses of injured who had no access to the most basic aid.
NYCM dispatched highly effective mobile medical units with bare personal essentials and as much medical equipment they could carry on their backs and the backs of two artillery mules on loan from the Pakistani Army. The effects of the mobile medical units echoed throughout the valley; within hours hundreds of injured survivors made their way to the teams’ base camp in Kathai, high in the Jhelum Valley. The five member team resided with the local population, slept in a small tent and lived on one liter of water a day. Injured survivors trekked over multiple avalanche mountains to reach the NYCM field outpost, more than 200 a day, many of whom were in critical condition and needed to be stabilized and cared for until medical evacuation arrived.
The lasting footprint was a treacherous hike to a small isolated village, over two mountains deep, whose meager road had been cleared from existence by the massive upheaval. Even the most seasoned mountaineer would deliberate this vertiginous ascend. Nord Dijhia was completely isolated; more than 70 percent of its inhabitants had dysentery and the majority had festering wounds. The most troubling was the overwhelming number of injured young, all of whom had not received any medical care, until the arrival of NYCM.
The model of highly efficient and effective mobile medical units accessing the inaccessible, those who would otherwise have no lifesaving aid, is what inspired NYCM to fill the obvious gap in the relief efforts in Pakistan and in future disasters.
NYC Medics is unwavering in our commitment to help people in need affected by disaster. We strive to uphold the highest standards of medical practice and seek to incorporate them into best practices and disaster relief protocols that will assist peer groups in their efforts. We seek to standardize efficient, effective mobile medical services throughout emergency relief efforts. NYC Medics will be a global relief organization that works in unison within the larger humanitarian response to disasters throughout the world.
Maintain open and transparent operations accountable to our donors, our volunteers and the people we serve.
Efficiently and effectively provide excellent medical care to all human beings in distress regardless of age, gender, race, religion, creed or political interests.
Deploy rapidly, without haste, to any region of the world regardless of political or social agenda
Incorporate standards set by the humanitarian community including the Red Cross Code of Conduct and Sphere Standards.
Connect with local people and resources in effort to empower survivors and promote healing within communities.
Serve with compassion, integrity and humanity
Katherine Bequary MPH, Executive Director
Katherine is an accomplished nonprofit fundraising and public health professional. With 15 years of nonprofit work experience she has directed an array of national and international events raising millions of dollars for humanitarian efforts throughout the world. She is a seasoned public health professional whose experience includes working in several developing nations in Latin and Central America, Asia and Africa. Katherine was the field director for NYCM’s disaster response efforts in Haiti where she successfully led relief operations from January through March.
She has a master’s degree in public health and a graduate certificate in humanitarian service administration from the University of Connecticut. Katherine’s career background includes international event production and fundraising, advocating and lobbying for children’s health issues and program development for antipoverty and health care initiatives.Back to top
Phil Suarez, Director of Operations
Phil Suarez has been a New York City paramedic for close to 20 years, working in some of New York’s most impoverished neighborhoods.In 2005, he co-founded NYC Medics, working extensively in Pakistan in 2005 and 2006 in the wake of the Kashmir earthquake. In January 2010, Phil deployed to Port-au-Prince, Haiti immediately following the devastating earthquake. He has also traveled to East Africa, teaching emergency medicine to local healthcare workers and volunteered with a clinic in the Highlands of Guatemala, bringing healthcare to the remote villages of the Mayan population. Most recently, Phil is working with a partner organization to bring sustainable healthcare to Northern Malawi.
Phil is a freelance photographer whose work focuses on humanitarian issues. He is currently producing a documentary, “Odysseus in America” which focuses on soldiers and their reintegration back into civilian society.
Phil Suarez was born in France and lived throughout Europe before moving to the United States.He currently lives in New York with his wife Loretta and their two beautiful children.Back to top
David Violante, MPH, EMT-P, Director, Disaster Preparedness & Training
David is currently the Assistant Director of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) for the Arlington Fire District in Poughkeepsie, NY. He is also an adjunct at Marist College in the schools of Communications and Global and Professional Programs, and at Dutchess Community College in the School of Allied Health and Biological Sciences. He is involved from the local to the international level in the development of EMS systems through education, policy, and public health development, and in disaster medical relief. David received a bachelor degree from Marist College in Organizational Leadership and Communications, and a master degree from Columbia University in Public Health, with a concentration in Executive Health Policy and Management. David has authored several articles published in the Journal of Prehospital Care and Emergency Response. David is the recipient of several New York State Senate and Assembly Citations, the Hudson Valley Regional EMS Leadership Award, the Red Cross Hometown Hero Award and the Columbia University Gorman Public Health Humanitarian Award.Back to top
Charles Berkowitz, Multimedia Coordinator
For the past ten years,Charles has been a member of the Emergency Medical Services in California and New York, eight of which have been served as a paramedic in Manhattan and Brooklyn. He is a founding member of NYC Medics and has since participated with NYCM in subsequent deployments to Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province and Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Since his graduation from Bard College, he has produced a number of shorts and two feature length documentaries focusing on the groundbreaking work of Dr. Jonathan Shay, author and former VA psychiatrist.
He is a current student at UC Berkeley’s Master’s of Journalism program.Back to top
Board of Directors
Steve Muth, President & Chairman of the Board
A former paramedic in New York during the late 80’s and 90’s Steve Muth co-founded and is now president of Voicethread.com, a collaborative tool used by educators around the world.
One of the original founding members of NYC Medics, he shares the organizations belief that swift and pragmatic action in a post-disaster environment can have a profound and lasting impact. Steve lives and works in Sag Harbor, NY with his wife and three sons.Back to top
Dan is a mission driven health care executive with a passion for high quality clinical service delivery, positive financial outcomes and measurable service excellence. Dan is a thoughtful communicator and a resourceful and strategic health care executive with substantial experience working at the executive and Board level. Dan’s experience includes all major facets of senior- leadership oversight including: operations and financial management; capital planning and charitable giving; medical staff and board relations; quality and performance improvement; business development; community relations and human resources management.
Dan is a Senior VP, Phelps Memorial Hospital. He earned a BA in Philosophy and MS in Healthcare Administration from New York University. He is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives and Medical Group Management Association. A former NYC paramedic, Dan still actively volunteers on an ambulance in his home town in Westchester County, NY. In addition he is Chairman of the Westchester Regional EMS Council and a member of the New York State Department of Health EMS Council and State Emergency Medical Advisory Committee.Back to top
Rob Bristow, MD, MPH (Acting Medical Director)
Dr. Bristow is the Medical Director of Emergency Management for NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and the Director of Disaster Medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He is a faculty member of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness in the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. He works collaboratively with The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Greater New York Hospital Association, and the New York City Office of Emergency Management.
Dr. Bristow has extensive national and international experience in emergency management and work closely with a variety of governmental and non-governmental organizations. He has provided emergency medical care in the war torn countries of El Salvador, Rwanda, Russia (Chechnya), and Kosovo. He worked in Gujarat, India after the 2001 earthquake in Bhuj; in Banda Aceh, Indonesia after the 2004 Tsunami; in the Gulf states in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina; and in Haiti in 2010 after the devastating earthquake. He is currently involved in systems development and capacity building in emergency medicine and management in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, India, and MontenegroBack to top
Peter Farnsworth, Sr.
Peter is the former CFO and the SVP Finance and IT for AmeriCares Foundation and Deputy Executive Director – Operations and CFO for Amnesty Intl. USA. He has a long record of financial accomplishment on Wall St. and in various international assignments, and as well as a background and passion for making IT solutions work to improve organizational effectiveness. Most recently he managed Facilities, HR, IT, Finance and Legal matters for Amnesty Intl. USA in NYC and its 6 offices around the US. Peter has assisted with money movement, controls and risk management related to operations following the 2005 Tsunami, Katrina, and long term humanitarian projects in Central and South America, Africa and Asia. He holds an MBA in Finance and Accounting from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business, where he was also a Teaching Assistant in International Finance. Over a long career he has visited and done business in 36 countries. His longest overseas residence was in Hong Kong where he lived for 4 years. He now resides in Connecticut with his family.Back to top
Al Kim, Treasurer
Al Kim is the Executive Director of Westchester Emergency Medical Services overseeing EMS operations of four hospitals and eight townships in Northern Westchester County, New York. Al was a New York City Paramedic for over 20 years, has managed multiple facilities and was involved in the relief operations after September 2001 terrorist attacks. He holds an MBA, is National Incident Management System (NIMS) certified and has formal training in disaster management and operations. Al participated in relief efforts in Pakistan in 2005 and is a founding member of NYCMedics. He lives in Park Slope Brooklyn with his family.Back to top
John is in facilities management at Colgate Palmolive. He is a former Vice President of Traffic & Logistics and Director of Emergency Response at the AmeriCares Foundation. John was responsible for delivering over $2 billion worth of medical relief supplies around the world. He administered a $3.4 million grant to the World Health Organization to build 20 Rural Health Centers in Pakistan following the 2005 earthquake. He also managed the delivery, construction and equipping of portable field hospitals in China and Pakistan.
His work over his fourteen years in the emergency response field have taken him to places like Rwanda, Bosnia, Albania, Iraq, the Philippines, Honduras, Louisiana and Ground Zero. John has a bachelors degree from the Catholic University of America. He currently lives in Connecticut with his family.Back to top
Betsy Fine, MD
Dr. Betsy Fine is a Family Physician and Adolescent Medicine Specialist with 28 years of experience in full spectrum family practice and residency teaching. She is currently involved in Primary Care Behavioral Health training and Adolescent care with Army families affected by combat deployments at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, WA and is Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine.
Betsy came to join NYCM at its inception with the first deployment in response to the Pakistan Earthquake in 2005 when an e-mail request for a physician brought to fruition a career long dream to join a humanitarian relief group. Her first global health experience had been in the Ivory Coast in 1980.The NYCM code of quick, light, and compassionate while getting to the inaccessible immediately appealed to her sense of Service and adventure. Dr. Fine’s training for amateur triathlons has enabled her to keep up with her younger counterparts on the deployments. In addition to two deployments to Pakistan, Betsy deployed to Haiti in the aftermath of the devastating 2010 earthquake.Back to top
Eric Holden, PA-C, MPA, EMT-P
Eric has 24 years experience working in emergency medicine. He started as an E.R. tech, later working in Los Angeles and Philadelphia as a Paramedic. He has been an emergency medicine P.A. for the last 15 years and has worked in California, Oregon, and Washington. His P.A. training was completed at Hahnemann University in Philadelphia. He also has a degree in medical anthropology from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a Masters degree from the University Of Nebraska College of Medicine in clinical emergency medicine.
His work experience includes positions in a rural critical access hospital, community facilities, level 1 and 2 trauma centers and solo coverage of small satellite emergency facilities. He is a member of state, federal, and international disaster medical teams. Eric is currently pursuing additional training in global and tropical medicine.Back to top
Erik Larsen, MD, FACEP
Dr. Larsen has an extensive history of progressive leadership and administrative experience. He is board certified/residency trained in Emergency Medicine with experience in flight, disaster, and wilderness medicine. He is presently the associate medical director of White Plains Hospital Center Emergency Department and assistant professor of emergency medicine at NY Medical College. He is also the associate director of LifeNet-NY and medical director of multiple local EMS agencies, TEC rescue and SWAT teams. Most notably, Dr. Larsen was the Medical Director at the New Orleans International Airport during Hurricane Katrina as well as the Medical Director of the NDMS Rapid Needs Assessment Team during Hurricane Wilma. In addition, he travelled with the NYC Medics Response Team during the 2006 Pakistan Earthquake.
Dr. Larsen received his medical degree from Medical College of Ohio. He is a fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians/ACEP-Disaster Section. Dr. larsen has been a member of the National Disaster Medical System and DMAT since 1989 and is the chief medical officer of NDMS Region 2 (NY, NJ, P.Rico, USVI). In 2006 Eric received the NY State Department of Health/Emergency Medical System Council Award for Physician of Excellence.Back to top
Laurie Nelson, JD
Laurie is a transactional attorney with over 25 years of experience working at some of the world’s largest law firms. During her career, she has managed to find spiritual fulfillment by regularly representing organizations such as NYC Medics on a pro bono basis.
A former Board member of NYC Medics, she and her firm, Ropes & Gray, LLP, assist NYC Medics with general legal representation on an as-needed basis.Back to top
Umair Shah, MD, MPH
Dr. Umair A. Shah is the Deputy Director for Harris County Public Health & Environmental Services (HCPHES) – the county health department serving the third most populous county in the United States – since 2004. Dr. Shah’s interests include global & refugee health issues; health equity work; and emergency response activities such as for Tropical Storm Allison, Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Ike, as well as the earthquakes in Kashmir and Haiti. His global experience also includes previous work at the World Health Organization in Geneva.
He is a current member of the National Association of County & City Health Officials (NACCHO) national health equity coalition and currently chairs NACCHO’s global health workgroup. Dr. Shah has served on the National Consensus Panel on Emergency Preparedness and Cultural Diversity sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services as well as the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Establishing Crisis Standards of Care for Use in Disaster Situations. He is an adjunct faculty member at The University of Texas School of Public Health and remains on the emergency department staff at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine, remains active in clinical patient care, and serves as one of the local health authorities for Harris County, Texas.Back to top
Chris Summers, RPA-C, EMT-P
Chris is a founding member of NYC Medics and a cardiothoracic surgery and critical care physician assistant practicing on Long Island, New York. As a NYC Medics member, a New York City paramedic and former Coastguardsman he has gained extensive experience in the field of disaster response and management and has taken part in countless land and sea based catastrophes, including the TWA flight 800 disaster, the World Trade Center terrorist attacks, the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan and the recent earthquake in Haiti.
He frequently provides disaster response training, emergency medical training and provides patient care in remote locations as a member of the Society for Hospital and Resources Exchange in Kenya, East Africa and the Pop Wuj medical clinic in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala.Back to top
Mobile Medical Disaster Relief: An emergency medical disaster response program that bridges gap between traditional aid efforts and the immediate and profound need for care in the aftermath of a catastrophe. The core of this program is rapid deployment of mobile medical teams that aims to have an advance team on the ground within 72 hours and within a week the first mobile team delivering emergency medical care and stabilization to people, regardless of where they are and the challenges confronted.
Mobile medical teams are self-sustainable and self-sufficient, capable of operating in remote areas without assistance. Teams are fully equipped with medicine, relief supplies, food and water purification solutions – enough to last for 14 days. They are composed of board certified, licensed medical professionals – doctors, nurses, paramedics, physician assistants – that collectively provide lifesaving care quickly and efficiently; all of whom who volunteer their time to do so.
This program does not compete with the other humanitarian organizations; but instead addresses an unmet need in the field, providing critically needed care for those who are inaccessible. Mobile Medical Teams are forward triage finding people and communities in need – bridging the gap – in traditional relief efforts; in the critical moment where life or death is determined by hours and days and the care they receive within that time.
Global Aid: Focuses on chronic, complex humanitarian emergencies and post disaster environments allowing NYCM to partner with local nonprofit organizations – those who know the community, the people, the culture and traditions best – in ongoing humanitarian relief efforts. The program focus is health and medical in nature, but allows for tailored humanitarian aid programs in effort to assist local agencies and communities with their most prevalent need.
Disaster Preparedness & EMS Training & Certification: To enhance training capacity in pre-hospital trauma care/emergency services and mass casualty/disaster preparedness planning in developing countries. The key objective of this program is to provide developing countries and local organizations within these countries with the tools, knowledge and skill necessary to fortify existing efforts and operate sustainable programming in the field of disaster preparedness and pre-hospital emergency medical services. The aim also focuses on providing appropriate training of timely care to victims of sudden and life-threatening injuries or emergencies in order to prevent needless mortality or long-term morbidity.
Assessment & Evaluation of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Infrastructure: Working with local, regional and national country and nonprofit partners, this program assesses and evaluates current EMS systems and infrastructure to identify, develop and implement programming appropriate to the needs and demands of the partner country/communities. The goal is to provide a comprehensive overview of current/existing EMS infrastructure in developing countries through assessment and evaluation of the national, regional and local EMS operations from pre-hospital care through discharge; to provide a detailed work plan that addresses weaknesses, further develops strengths, and realigns EMS resources which support the strengthening and/or development of a cohesive national infrastructure.
PHILIPPINES DISASTER RELIEF WRAP UP
Within days after Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda struck the Philippines, the NYC Medics rapid assessment team was on the ground, establishing themselves with the Filipino Department of Health (DoH) and with the UN OCHA (Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance) health cluster. This was followed soon after by the medical team made up of 15 volunteers: three physicians, two physician assistants, one nurse practitioner, three registered nurses, five paramedics, and a public health professional. As advised by the DoH and the health cluster, the medical team deployed to Guiuan in the East Samar province, the first city in the Philippines to experience the typhoon and its winds of over 200 mph causing nearly 100% physical destruction.
True to the mission of NYC Medics, the medical team focused on providing medical care to remote locations through mobile medical units. During the first week of the relief mission, the medical team worked in several villages on Homonhon Island, a small island 2-3 hours by boat from Guiuan which had had no contact with the rest of the country since the typhoon due to shattered boats and damaged phone networks. With the assistance of US Navy helicopters, NYC Medics ran mobile medical clinics on this island, seeing from 131 to 178 patients per day in the Barangays of Casuguran, Habag, and Inapulangan. As expected, the team treated patients with infected wounds, infectious diseases with a high incidence of acute respiratory illness and pneumonia, and exacerbations of chronic illnesses. In a few extreme cases, patients with life threatening conditions—such as renal failure and pulmonary edema, and an intra-articular foot wound and abscess—were evacuated off the island to referral hospitals run by partner NGOs.
While one mobile medical unit served Homonhon island, the NYC Medics medical team formed a second mobile medical unit providing care in Guiuan and surrounding communities, treating from 137 to 252 patients per day. Medical complaints and diagnoses were similar, with infected wounds, respiratory illness and diarrhea, and untreated hypertension, diabetes, and asthma commonly encountered.
During the second week of the relief mission, NYC Medics learned that several communities northward along the coastline had not received the same level of attention from relief agencies. The team thus relocated to the towns of Llorrente and Hernani, and continued to work in remote, difficult to reach areas accessed by boat and mountain hikes over washed-out roads. Though the destruction in these areas was less severe, medical needs were comparable due to damaged infrastructure and limited access to personnel and resources. NYC Medics clinic volumes reached as high as 575 patients in a single day during this time. Through the course of the two-week mission, NYC Medics cared for over 2500 patients affected by the typhoon.
NOV 27, PHILIPPINES DISASTER RELIEF UPDATE
Faustina and preventable death. Peter Murtagh, a reporter for the Irish Times worked alongside our team for a few days last week and chronicled the way our teams work. One of the stories he tells is that of Faustina Eucio (70) whose badly injured and untreated foot wound was almost assuredly lethal in the absence of proper treatment. Because our team traveled to her, to her village, on her island, Faustina will now live, and her story sits in sharp contrast to many thousands of those injured who do not get access to basic medical intervention in the aftermath of a major disaster like this typhoon. The story of Richard Pulga, who died of a broken leg, is exactly why our volunteers work so hard to get out the door and onto a plane so quickly. Disasters will happen, and some loss of life is inevitable, however a fatalistic ‘that’s mother nature’ interpretation of these events is simply not accurate. Many, many deaths and injuries are quite preventable, sometimes easily so. Finding the next Richard Pulga is what we think about every time we have planning meetings or ask people for money. IF people could see and understand what’s possible, instead of just absorbing what has already happened by watching depressing disaster chronicles, then they’d know what we know: there is much that can be done.
The team is now headed back now to the US, exhausted but well. Again, a big thanks to them and to their families, and to all of the donors who made their work possible.
NOV 24, PHILIPPINES DISASTER RELIEF UPDATE
Llorente and rain. For the member of the Mobile Medical Team, their work in the Philippines will likely filled with memories of mud, and sleeping in damp clothes. They have moved north to Hernani and then north again to Llorente and are now encamped in the roofless remains of a church at the invitation from the sisters of a local convent. The rain comes and goes, but when it arrives, it is often torrential, soaking everyone and everything. Keeping the medical supplies dry, and keeping people’s spirits up during these mini-monsoons is not a simple task.
The medical work continues, with the larger team spitting up on most days. Day clinics are arranged a couple days in advance so that the local communities can spread the word that medical help will be available and a few hundred patients a day is an average workload. A smaller, more mobile team will travel out to destinations where the population cannot travel to a clinic, a boat trip to an island off the coast yesterday, and a hike up a nearby mountain to a remote village is scheduled for today.
While the larger affected region is making progress on the repairs to basic infrastructure, enabling the larger relief efforts to spread further out from the larger cities and towns, there are still many areas where access to medical care is, and has been. absent. We will continue to hunt for these areas and get to them in the time we have left.
Thanks again to everyone for their support!
NOV 21, PHILIPPINES DISASTER RELIEF UPDATE
Working on Homonhon island. For the last three days the team has been traveling via a US Navy helicopter to Homonhon island to treat patients at each of the 10 villages on the island. Arriving in the morning, and then getting picked up at the end of the day to return to a home base in Guiuan. The villages had not yet received any medical attention whatsoever and so the work is exactly on mission for our team.
Our core concept, that we find those in need, rather than the other way around, is working once again. On a call from their sat phone this morning the team leaders sounded exhausted, they have been working in extremely difficult conditions for days. A 90 minute deluge of rain had just ended and soaked everyone and everything, turning the camp into a muddy swamp, and yet, they also sounded happy. It may sound strange, but when you are having a real and significant impact on people’s lives, exhaustion and physical misery become tolerable.
Thanks again to everyone for their support of the mission.
NOV 18, PHILIPPINES DISASTER RELIEF UPDATE
The team is now working in Guiuan, one of the areas reporting 100% damage to buildings and infrastructure and in need of almost every kind of assistance. Upon arrival they immediately set up a clinic and began treating patients. On their second day, a team of 9 boarded a US Navy helicopter to travel to one of the many remote islands that have seen little assistance. They will run a day clinic and assess the ongoing need for medical care.
Because of the complete destruction of communications infrastructure it is extremely difficult to assess needs in the ‘silent’ affected areas, places where no news is available. This lack of reliable information makes the planning by our team leaders particularly difficult. We are in daily contact with the UNDAC and the Philippine authorities but we are always concerned about what is just beyond our field of vision. So even while we’re working a clinic, we are speaking with the patients about where they are from, and what is the story ‘back home’. Each and every day we assess our work and discuss options for improving our impact in the area.
Thanks again to all our volunteers, their families, and the donors who make our work possible.
NOV 15, PHILIPPINES DISASTER RELIEF UPDATE
The Mobile Medical Team is now en route, with 12 members and over a ton of medical supplies and equipment to operate a remote mobile clinic. Under the direction of the Philippine Ministry of Health, we are planning to deploy the team to the provinces of Guiuan and Borongan, two of the hardest hit areas and most difficult to access.
The World Health Organization has categorized Super Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan as a Category 3 Disaster(Most Severe). Current relief challenges include a lack of communication with the most affected areas coupled with a lack of information about the current status of the communities. There is extensive damage to power and communication lines. Transportation into and around the affected areas is difficult due to the inability of large planes to land at nearby airports and lack of available fuel. Most relief workers and supplies are being transported by C 130 military planes from the Air Base in Cebu to Tacloban. Many healthcare facilities have been damaged by the storm and do not have electricity due to lack of fuel or small, inadequate generators.
As expected, the current medical problems include open and infected wounds, contusions, upper respiratory tract infections, fever, skin diseases, and high blood-pressure. We also expect to see increasing numbers of gastro intestinal illness and dehydration due to scarcity of clean water.
It’s an extremely challenging logistical puzzle to organize, equip, and safely place, a team like this, requiring a large community of volunteers, family members, and donors to make it happen. A very big thank you to all.
NOV 14, PHILIPPINES DISASTER RELIEF UPDATE
A Mobile Medical Team of 12 doctors, nurses, PA’s, and paramedics will be leaving the US tomorrow, bound for Cebu. The team has been assigned to work in Region 8 – Samar Province, specifically in Guiuan and Borongan. As per OCHA, establishing temporary points for delivery of health services is critical as infrastructure is damaged and people do not have access to medical care. From past experience we know that the ‘emergency’ phase of a disaster is lengthened considerably when the scope is of the damage is catastrophic, as it has been in the Philippines. There are many, many people in the affected area who have literally had no outside help, and our job is to find them as quickly as possible. Many of the interventions we use are very simple, wound cleaning, rehydration, and treatment for infections that can quickly become life threatening. In short, interventions that are medically basic, but have profound implications.
Thank you to everyone for your support so far. There has been a wonderful response from around the country and we promise to put all funds raised to very good use. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
NOV 12, PHILIPPINES DISASTER RELIEF UPDATE
The assessment team arrived in the Philippines at noon EST today to begin their work. However, even before they file their first report it’s clear that the typhoon is a catastrophic event that has destroyed the infrastructure that would normally be used to mount an effective response. It’s a situation that our team veterans know all too well from past missions, and we are all having trouble sleeping. Each hour that passes before help arrives feels like an unacceptable delay. If you listen to the voice of Magina Fernandez in this report from the Tacloban airport describing conditions “worse than hell”, you’ll understand the desperate situation that many thousands of people find themselves in. Her directions to the world? “Get international help to come here now. Now, not tomorrow, now. “
We are moving as quickly as we can, and have more than enough volunteers available for the first Mobile Medical Team. We are finalizing a roster within the next 36 hours and will let everyone know as soon as we can. What we need help with the most is fundraising. Please do all you can. Our initial medication package alone is about $13,000 and is just one part of the mission costs.
Thanks to everyone for pitching in, and we’ll get you further updates as we can.
NOV 10, PHILIPPINES DISASTER RELIEF EFFORTS
In the wake of the devastation left by Typhoon Haiyan/Yoland a NYCM Disaster Assessment Team will depart for the Philippines on Monday (11/11). Mobile medical teams, comprised of NYCM volunteers, have been activated and essential resources and equipment are being positioned for potential response.
We have been communicating with government officials and medical professionals on the ground and disaster professionals here in the US and abroad. Our contacts continue to provide real time reports keeping us appraised of the most recent developments. Once on the ground we will have a much better ability to determine the ways in which we can support the Philippine government and disaster relief efforts underway.
Government officials are now stating the number of injured survivors is ‘very high’ and that the death toll is expected to rise to 10,000 just in the city of Tacloban, one of the hardest hit areas. Help NYCMedics provide urgently needed, live saving medical care to people struggling to survive in the aftermath of this catastrophic event by contributing to our Philippines Relief Fund today.
KENYA EDUCATION AND TRAINING
The ultimate goal of emergency medical services (EMS) is to save lives, however, in many developing countries only a rudimentary system exists and many communities have very limited access to EMS, if any at all. In Kenya, over many years, uncoordinated attempts have been made to develop separate components of the EMS system. This approach has led to a fractured structure with inconsistent regulations, and training curricula that utilize different protocols and equipment. The result is a non-standardized, non-integrated, and disparate system that jeopardizes patient care and hinders the delivery of service and the development of an integrated and unified system. In 2011, coronary disease (13,488), stroke (15,399), traumatic injuries (7,137), road traffic accidents (7,801) and maternal/fetal birthing complications (12,222) were among the leading causes of death in Kenya (56,047 deaths); all of which are conditions that can be positively influenced with access to quality pre-hospital emergency care.
NYCM has partnered with the Kenya Council of Emergency Medical Technicians (KCEMT) and Thika International Center of Technology (ICT) to launch training and certification programs for emergency medical and fire services that will address shortfalls in the current medical and fire response systems in Kenya.
KCEMT, an association of members representing ambulance providers, fire and rescue services, hospitals and other health and emergency management workers throughout Kenya, has launched the development of a national system in conjunction with the Ministry of Health (MOH), Ministry of Medical Services (MMS) and other public and private partnerships. The council coordinates a systems approach to providing pre-hospital emergency medical services and manages the integration of all EMS system components. KCEMT is also working with ICT, a fully registered and recognized college that offers certification in firefighting and fire marshal training, to increase the capacity of the emergency services sector by cross-training firefighters in basic emergency medical programs.
To support these efforts, KCEMT and NYCM have developed Lifeline: Scaling Up Emergency Medical and Fire Rescue Services in Kenya (Lifeline), a program purposed to scale up KCEMT’s capabilities; to provide KCEMT with a sustainable paramedic training program and a fire rescue EMS program that combine short-term system education gains with international standards, recognition, certification and regulation.
KCEMT currently provides basic life support training at the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) level, certification and recertification recognized by the MOH, and limited American Heart Association training and certification at the basic CPR and Advanced Cardiac Life Support levels. Lifeline will fortify the EMS system KCEMT is implementing. Intermediate and long-term outcomes include improved healthcare delivery, system development, and sustainability for those afflicted by injury, illness, and disaster. Scaling up emergency medical services through KCEMT will also create a more sustainable systems approach to the EMS infrastructure throughout the country. Developing the key recognized facets of training, regulation and policy, research, quality management, public information and legislation will promote greater internal development and greater future sustainability.
Additionally, EMS professionals in Kenya will have the ability to proactively interface with other public health and medical professionals to impact greater public health awareness, monitor and report emerging public health needs including outbreaks and epidemics, and have the ability to interact with the community at the local level to provide point of service public health education. Political development through awareness and legislation will provide improved national acceptance, financing, coordination of services, patient transfer, mutual aid, disaster preparedness, and utilization of management information systems across sectors. Ultimately, people who are ill or injured will finally have greater access to trained providers in a coordinated system of care.
Together KCEMT, ICT and NYCM will implement a paramedic training program and a fire rescue EMS program, both of which include instructor training and certification, utilizing the National Association of EMS Educators (NAEMSE) model and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) model. The general intended outcomes are as follows:
- Development and implementation of a Paramedic Training Center and Firefighter Training Center EMS/medical program
- Development of an educational and curriculum resource library for ongoing training and study
- Implementation of sustainable programming for KCEMT and ICT enabling them to develop operational capacity
- Growth of a skilled workforce in Kenya, especially as a vocation for youth, that provides a career ladder and bridge to other health related professions
- Improvement of pre/in-hospital clinical care and public health
- Advancement in the political stance for the development of other EMS related programs
- Progress in international recognition
Developing KCEMT as a council and representative group of healthcare professionals actively involved in the delivery of healthcare in this system arms them with the tools and resources necessary to standardize medical practices across professions, provide a minimum standard of care for patients, and provide internationally recognized and accepted education and certification, thereby building a system of healthcare that will benefit the patient.
The aim of Lifeline is to help KCEMT develop sustainable, replicable programming that will reduce premature death and disability by improving pre-hospital emergency care. The comprehensive training program offered through Lifeline will build a workforce that will effectively and efficiently respond to daily medical emergencies, as well as to large scale mass casualty and disasters, to prevent the unnecessary loss of life and injury.
You have the opportunity to be a part of this important project, a project whose impact will be felt throughout the country and will have a long lasting, lifesaving effect. Enhancing the quality of and access to pre-hospital trauma and emergency care will directly benefit people who currently are without access to life saving care. Supporting this project will build systems that allow communities to care for themselves and allow people – those who have been helped by you – to pay it forward.
There is strength in collaboration. Several partners have committed to assist in the development of this project providing 43% of the budget – nearly $70,000 – through in-kind services and donations: NYCM will provide expert logistics capabilities, program management, instructor trainers and system development personnel, and our corporate partners will provide in-kind donations and steep discounts on essential training equipment and materials. We would be honored for you to join our collaborative efforts on this exciting project by making a donation today: I support Lifeline!
On March 11, 2011 a powerful 9.0 earthquake struck Japan not only triggering a tsunami measuring 124 feet high and traveling up to 6 miles inland, but also severely compromising the integrity of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear power Plant.
Within two weeks of the catastrophic event NYC Medics advanced team was on the ground conducting a comprehensive needs assessment of the worst affected areas with local partner, Tokushukai Medical Assistance Team (TMAT), a nonprofit disaster relief organization. TMAT formally requested assistance with the radiologic element of this crisis.
Responding to TMATs request, NYC Medics dispatched a team of leading experts in radiological disaster management and preparedness. The special three-person team, composed of leading risk communication expert, Dr. Steven Becker from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and NYC Medics volunteers, internationally recognized board-certified health physicist, Dr. Andrew Karam, and board certified emergency medicine physician Dr. Katherine Uraneck conducted a rapid crisis assessment throughout the affected area, focusing on Fukushima prefecture; throughout the assessment, Dr. Karam took independent measurements and readings of radiation in the affected areas as research for his presentations. They visited hospitals, municipal government officials, evacuation centers, and areas devastated by the tsunami, to help prepare for a six day lecture and workshop series which provided training in radiation issues, incident management and psychosocial risk communication for public officials, hospital, public information and emergency response professionals.
They achieved the following:
• Lectured and lead workshops to audiences throughout Tokyo Metropolis, Iwate and Fukushima Prefectures — addressed issues ranging from the psychosocial impact on the affected population to explaining radiation readings & measurements and risk communication
• Reached over 800 medical practitioners, first responders and key officials
• Assisted partners with training and preparedness to strengthen current efforts and future incident response
• Worked with officials of the federal government participating in very rich and wide-ranging discussion on ways of reducing the impacts of the disaster, including growing concerns of exposure, both psychosocial and physical/medical risks
• Provided recommendations to prepare and respond to the ongoing efforts and plan for future incidents incorporating medical and disaster relief issues surrounding evacuation centers and displaced persons
“The lectures have greatly lessened the fear among the hospital staff.”
~ Dr. Takao Suzuki, CEO, Tokushukai Medical Group
On January 12, 2010, an earthquake struck Haiti’s main city, Port au Prince, killing more than 222,000 people and injuring more than 300,000. An impoverished nation where nearly 70% of the population lives on less than $2 a day; the earthquake affected 2.8 million people and rendered more than 1.5 million homeless.
NYC Medics guiding principal, the core of our organization, is rapid deployment of mobile medical units that provide urgent medical care to those who would not have access to healthcare. We fill gaps in relief operations ensuring universal access for vulnerable, disaster-affected populations, regardless of location or situation. Meaning, we go into remote, isolated areas that would otherwise go without aid or any form of medical services. In Haiti, our model allowed us to work in areas that other organizations would not.
Within four days of the catastrophe the NYCM assessment team was on the ground working with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affair and other local and international organizations paving way for the first mobile medial team to arrive three days later. This team of ten seasoned, emergent care veterans arrived within one week of the event, transporting two tons of donated essential medicines and medical supplies across the border from the Dominican Republic.
Creating the model of mobile medical teams in disaster relief efforts five years earlier allowed our teams to immediately begin working in the field. In less than 12 hours of arriving in Haiti, the first medical camp was erected in a schoolyard in one of the worst hit and dangerous areas of Port au Prince, Cite Militaire; in the first three days NYCM volunteers treated over one thousand patients seeing everything from sever crush injuries, fractures, and abrasions to anxiety, diabetes and other chronic illnesses. As the urgent needs in this community diminished, NYCM moved operations to a US Army base near the airport, and joined patrols by the 82nd Airborne, moving from one IDP camp to the next, treating and transporting the worst medical cases. The team ended its stay by staffing the night shift at Hôpital de L’Universite d’Haiti in Port au Prince.
Three additional medial teams, all of whom worked endlessly to ease the suffering of the survivors of the quake, worked throughout Port au Prince as well as beyond the city borders in regions that had not received any form of humanitarian aid until the arrival of NYCM.
Establishing partnerships with local and international organizations, NYCM teams worked with the United States Army, the United Nations, the Jenkins-Penn Haiti Relief Organization (J/P HRO), Hopital de L’Universite d’Haiti, the Harvard Health Initiative and Hôpital Albert Schweitzer addressing the needs of those affected by the devastating earthquake. In total, NYC Medics directed four teams – 53 medical professional – in disaster relief efforts treating more than 12,000 survivors; caring on average for 350 patients a day. Additionally, NYCM operations and logistics team managed the logistics and volunteer coordination of 69 medical personnel that supported local and international nonprofits throughout the country.
NYC Medics returned to Pakistan in February of ’06, this time dispatched to the other side of the earthquake, focusing on primary care at a small clinic in the Northwest Frontier Province by the border of Afghanistan. Instead of backpacks the teams filled jingle trucks with equipment, and two teams of physicians, medics and nurses treated scores of patients a day. The operation established a thriving care facility providing care to more than ten thousand patients, everything from resuscitating a cardiac arrest to delivering babies.
On the morning of October 8, 2005 a quake hit northern Pakistan measuring 7.6 on the Ricther Scale. It killed more than 75,000 people, and left millions homeless. On October 20, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan begged the world for more help, saying, “…a second, massive wave of death will happen if we do not step up our efforts now, with reference to the thousand remote villages in which people are in need of medical attention, food, clean water and shelter and the 120,000 survivors that have not yet been reached.”
A US Navy helicopter dropped NYCM in the village of Seyan, on the Jhelum Valley, the first western team in that area. All roads to the NYCM basecamp were blocked, buried under landslides, and injured survivors had to be carried in by family members, on homemade litters, miles over mountains. NYCM operated under a tarp, next to the rubbled clinic, and the first day treated more than 400 victims, fractures of every sort, grossly infected wounds, disease and dehydration.
The next day a mobile medical unit traveled upriver, backpacks stuffed with medical supplies, and set up a satellite clinic, caring for over 200 people a day, on the remnants of an artillery base near the border with India. When the road to Seyan opened, NYCM transferred operations to Doctors Without Borders, and the mobile medical unit hiked even further north. In the little village of Nord Dijhia, residents claimed NYCM were the first westerners they’d seen, the first to ever enter their valley. Working in the most difficult conditions, often with inadequate equipment, NYCM helped thousands of victims, many who would have perished.
Ways to Give
NYCM is deeply committed to fiscal responsibility – it is our commitment to donors who entrust us with their hard earned money. 90% of every dollar raised directly supports our global relief efforts providing life-saving medical care to people in need while only 10% of expended resources go to essential administrative functions that directly support our work.
Since 2005, nearly 200 people have donated more than 460,000 hours of lifesaving medical care to more than 27,000 people providing more than $2.3 million worth of medical care and treatment to people in need. Because our model is based on the spirit of volunteerism, your dollar goes a long way. NYC Medics puts medical volunteers into the field for approximately $80 a day, meaning on average we can medically intervene in someone’s life for $4. When you realize how important $4 can be, efficiency becomes a core value. In short, NYC Medics makes every dollar count and rest assured every dollar invested with us will have good results.
Please consider making a gift today in one of the following ways:
Individual Giving: Your tax deductible contribution will allow NYCM to support our initiatives throughout the world. Please consider making an unrestricted gift today. The easiest way to make a direct donation is online. It’s fast, easy, and secure and every gift, every cent, counts!
If you prefer to phone in or mail your donation please make checks payable to NYC Medics and mail to 2214 Eighth Avenue, Suite #139 New York, NY 10026 or call toll free 888.600.1648 with your MasterCard, Visa or American Express.
Unrestricted gifts are an extremely important funding source for NYC Medics. It provides the flexibility we need to respond immediately in the onset of a catastrophic event, develop new innovative programs, plan strategically, seize opportunities, respond quickly where needs are greatest, and ensure that those who are inaccessible, those isolated by geographic or economic barriers, are accessed. By supporting NYC Medics global mission through an unrestricted gift, you can help us build a solid foundation for a future filled with hope and progress.
Monthly Giving Partner: Join the NYCM Emergency Response Network by making a monthly gift. Some people have given $10 a month, others $50 and some even $100 a month. Your monthly gift ensures that we are ready and able to respond whether in the aftermath of a disaster or when helping countries build and strengthen their disaster preparedness capabilities. Please consider this opportunity to help us fulfill our mission of helping those in need at whatever level you are most comfortable.
Fund a Disaster Response Team: In the wake of a catastrophic event – when minutes and hours make the difference between life and death – it is imperative to have access to the necessary financial resources to put a team on the ground as quickly as possible. Direct support of a Mobile Medical Relief Team helps to ensure that our teams are working to save lives and lessen human suffering within 72 hours of a disaster.
Host an Event: NYCM is fortunate to enjoy the generosity of many people who support our efforts throughout the year. Often, we hear from people who spend their own time and money to organize a fundraiser to benefit NYCM. From penny drives and bake sales to car washes, cultivation events and birthday bashes and more, hosting a third party event on behalf of NYCM is a great way to not only raise money for your favorite cause, but to also spread the word about our amazing work!
Honor a Loved One or Special Occasion Donation: In lieu of traditional wedding favors make a donation to NYCM in your guests’ name, or in honor or memory of a loved one.
Employee Matching Gifts Program: A simple way to double your donation in three simple steps:
- Make a donation to NYCM
- Obtain the appropriate forms from your employer and fill out the section indicated
- Mail the form to NYCM
The rest is up to us! NYCM will complete the forms and return to your employer who will then make the matching donation to NCYM
Through these giving opportunities our ability to help those in need is endless, but we cannot do it without your help. When you financially support NYC Medics, you are able to do so in ways that work for you!
For more information on supporting NYCM please call us 888.600.1648.
Please send donations and mail correspondence to:
2214 Eighth Avenue, Suite #139
New York, NY 10026
By Email: email@example.com (or submit an email directly below)
By Phone: +1 888.600.1648
What is NYCM?
We are a disaster relief and humanitarian aid organization that provides immediate emergency medical care to people in need in the aftermath of a disaster and support ongoing aid efforts in complex humanitarian emergencies, irrespective of location, race, creed or political affiliation.
Is NYCM a not for profit organization?
Yes. NYCM is a 501c3 not for profit organization and is registered in the state of New York. All donations to NYCM are 100% tax deductible.
What type of aid does NYCM provide?
NYCM provides life saving medical care to survivors of natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, etc. To date we have treated more than 26,000 people in distress, many of whom would have perished without our care.
What makes NYCM different from other relief organizations?
NYC Medics focal point is to start at the back of the relief line – setting us apart from other organizations that start at the front – by accessing remote areas where the greatest emergent needs exist, where local resources are strained, and larger humanitarian organizations have not yet, or are unable to reach.
NYC Medics specializes in accessing these difficult areas with mobile medical teams to provide top medical care and serve as forward triage for local and other international aid organizations.
Our motto is light and lighter; more mobile, more flexible, more cost-effective, less bureaucratic.
Does NYCM respond to disasters in the United States?
Our focus is international, however, our volunteers are on the frontlines everyday here in the United States, and in the event of a disaster they typically and routinely participate in relief efforts.
How much of my financial donation directly helps people in need?
NYCM is deeply committed to fiscal responsibility; it is our obligation to donors who entrust us with their hard earned money. 90% of NYCM total expenses directly support our global relief efforts providing life-saving medical care to people in need. Only 10% of expended resources go to essential administrative functions that directly support our work. NYCM is proud to maintain such a low overhead; we owe it all to our dedicated volunteers and small group of hardworking staff! All medical teams deployed to disaster relief efforts are comprised of amazing volunteer medical professionals, without whom our work would not be possible.
How are financial contributions used?
NYCM relies on financial contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations to respond to people in need in the aftermath of a disaster. Unrestricted donations to our Global Relief Fund allows NYCM the flexibility to rapidly respond to critical emergencies throughout the world. Transportation in and out of relief zones as well as the procurement of essential medicine and medical supplies represents a large share of NYCM expenses.
How does NYCM obtain its relief supplies?
Following SPERE and WHO standards and guidelines, NYCM created an essential needs list targeting medicine and medical supplies required in a disaster setting.
When a disaster strikes, NYCM relief experts work with local partners in the affected area to assess medical and humanitarian needs. Our logistics team works tirelessly with many corporate and nonprofit partners to first obtain appropriate donations and, when necessary, the most cost-efficient supply rates available. At a minimum, we procure enough to support a fully self sufficient mobile medical team on the ground for no less than seven days, thus allowing the larger governing bodies of the relief effort time to institute restocking procedures. To learn more about donating an ‘essential needs item’ please contact Corporate Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can I volunteer for NYCM?
Yes! We are always on the lookout for engaging, compassionate people to volunteer either in the field or in the office. Our programming requires specific expertise and experience. Please visit our volunteer page or contact Volunteer Services at email@example.com for more information.
Can I make a donation of food, clothing or medicines to NYCM for people affected by the disaster?
Unfortunately, because of the excessive resources involved in collecting, sorting, warehousing and shipping individually donated items, we are unable to accept these donations. The best way to support the NYCM mission is through a financial gift or by volunteering your time. Financial contributions are critical to our relief efforts. Your support allows us to manage the complex logistics involved with deploying medical teams and essential supplies into the relief areas as quickly as possible and purchase medicines when product donations are not available.
I didn’t get a tax receipt for my donation. How can I obtain one?
A duplicate tax receipt can be requested by contacting our donor relations department firstname.lastname@example.org
How do I contact NYCM?
Mail: NYC Medics, 2214 Eighth Avenue, Suite #139, New York, NY 10026
Or fill out our contact form.