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UMB Community Responds to Haiti Crisis

Updated: Tuesday, Jan. 26, 5 p.m.

From across campus, offers of support have been forthcoming and plans being made:

President Ramsay's statement on Haiti

University President David J. Ramsay, DM, DPhil, has issued a statement regarding the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) response to the crisis in Haiti that can be viewed here.

School of Social Work

Richard P. Barth, PhD, MSW, dean of the University of Maryland School of Social Work (SSW), has updated the school on plans for involvement in Haiti relief efforts as part of the camnpus-wide program announced by President Ramsay. Barth emphasized that this will be "a long term effort both in Haiti and in domestic communities with growing Haitian populations, themselves supporting families, friends and colleagues in Haiti."

Barth named a newly-appointed visiting professor with deep international experience to be the school's Haiti response coordinator. She is Jody Olsen, PhD, MSW, who was most recently acting director of the Peace Corps.

"Even as critical emergency and life saving work continues in Haiti, we have current opportunities to become involved in relief work in the Baltimore/Washington DC area," said Olsen. The Greater Washington Haiti Relief Committee (GWHRC) has become the coordinating link for persons in these two metropolitan areas. Schools, universities, and organizations are all working through the GWHRC, which is linked to the Haitian Embassy.

The volunteer management contact with the GWHRC, Nana Bernard Ofori-Atta, JD, has developed a path for volunteer preparation and orientation that will be used by people who want to become involved. Olsen and Ali-Sha Alleman, associate director of the School of Social Work's Community Outreach Services (SWCOS), are helping to direct students, faculty and staff members who wish to participate through the GWHRC. The goal is to organize within classes and other groups with the expectation that they will train and work together in aspects such as mental health counseling, gathering supplies for victims in Haiti, and family support and unification. Participants must first register by going to the GWHRC volunteers' website.

"This is the beginning of what can be a long reconstruction effort that will both enrich our work here at the School and give desperately needed assistance to the people of Haiti, whether in their own country or here in our metropolitan neighborhoods," said Olsen.

Maryland Charity Campaign

Many Maryland State employees and retirees are anxious to help. In response, the Maryland Charity Campaign has created a web link where you can make a donation that will go directly to Haiti disaster relief through the charity of your choice. If you want to give by credit card, go to the MCC website and click on the link, "DONATE NOW." If you wish to donate by payroll deduction, cash or check, ple MCC website and click on the link, "DONATE NOW." If you wish to donate by payroll deduction, cash or check, please fill out a paper pledge form and write "Haiti" on the top of your card.

School of Nursing Dean's Message

I want to update you about the situation in Haiti and the responses recommended by the President and Dr. Joe O'Neill whom Dr. Ramsay appointed to lead the UMB efforts in Haiti. Dr. O'Neill, an international health expert with experience in Haiti, is coordinating all UMB efforts. Dr. Jeff Johnson, director of the School of Nursing Office of Global Health is representing the School of Nursing on Dr. O'Neill's Task Force.

* Currently, the health focus in Haiti is on treating people with traumatic injuries. Thus, mostly surgical teams are the first medical responders. If security issues can be addressed, a team from the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center will go to Haiti. They will be working through Catholic Relief Services and teams will do 7-10 day rotations.
* At this time, the situation is too fragile and dangerous to send faculty and students. I have asked the department chairs to survey faculty interest in going to Haiti. In addition, they will determine how many active reserve faculty and students and active duty students will be deployed to Haiti or to backfill mainland nurse positions. Dr. Johnson will work with the department chairs and faculty to coordinate any UMB/SON efforts.
* Our student organization, Nurses for Global Health, has agreed to spearhead a focused fundraising effort and to identify students interested in going to Haiti probably during the summer.
* Dr. Johnson will coordinate with the department chairs, faculty efforts in Haiti.

What you can do now:
* Money donations -- The greatest need is for monetary donations through major charities or your place of worship if involved in Haiti. Catholic Charities has informed Dr. O'Neill that they do not need donations of clothing, toys, personal supplies or food at this time.
* French or Creole speaking -- If you speak French or Creole, please contact Dr. Johnson or Rosemary Riel at ext. 6-0185. There is a need for translators
* Students -- Students from several schools on campus are holding fundraisers.

Future:
* UMB, through Dr. Robert Redfield's Pepfar(HIV/AIDS treatment)grants at IHV, has an ongoing relationship with St. Francois de Sales Hospital in Haiti. The SON and SOM had a recent visit with a delegation from the University of Notre Dame (next to the hospital) seeking an educational and perhaps research partnership with the two Schools. We agreed to develop a partnership which will afford opportunities for faculty and students in the future to go to Haiti.
* In two to three months, there will be a need for primary care providers and community health nurses and this may provide an opportunity for faculty to volunteer to go to Haiti with a UMB team.
* Please direct your questions to your department chairs, your faculty advisor, or Dr. Johnson.

I know that you all join me in greatly empathizing with the Haitian people and hoping for a rapid rebuilding of their communities and country.

Janet D. Allan, PhD, RN, FAAN
Dean and Professor
University of Maryland School of Nursing

Dr. Joe O'Neill on WYPR-FM

Joseph O'Neill, MD, MPH, the director of Global Health Initiatives for UMB and a visiting professor in the School of Medicine, was a guest on Dan Rodricks' on WYPR on program Monday, Jan. 18, to discuss the UMB response to the crisis in Haiti. This YouTube video is the first 5 minutes of the program.

The Rodricks program can be heard in its entirety by clicking here.

Law Students Organize Haitian Relief Efforts

The University of Maryland School of Law released the following statement:

"The people of Haiti have suffered a humanitarian disaster of enormous proportions. The School of Law's thoughts are with all Haitians and particularly with members of our own community who have lost family and friends there. Maryland law students will be organizing efforts to mobilize the law school community in supporting the Haitian relief efforts of the American Red Cross International Response Fund and Catholic Relief Services.

"Student Bar Association(SBA)President Pegah Parsi and James Dold, community service chair for SBA and the Maryland Public Interest Law Project, will be working with Teresa Schmiedeler, director of pro bono and public service Initiatives, to organize Haitian Relief Efforts Donation Tables in the law school and other events throughout the semester to show our support. If interested in assisting with this effort, please contact Pegah Parsi at ppars001@umaryland.edu or James Dold at jdold001@umaryland.edu."

(Editor's note: this story will be updated frequently over the next several days as new information becomes available.)

Posting Date: 01/26/2010
Contact Name: Patricia Fanning
Contact Phone: 410-707-7946
Contact Email: pfanning@umaryland.edu