The Health Science Center is focusing its Hurricane Katrina relief efforts on providing care for critically ill refugees, addressing public health challenges, assisting local and state agencies, accommodating displaced health professional students and residents, and offering research resources to scientists so that vital work is not lost, Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., president, said in a campus e-mail Friday.
“Our own Texas Medical Rangers, the volunteer organization established by the Health Science Center specifically for situations such as this, will assist in reception and triage of patients at KellyUSA airfield as they arrive,” Dr. Cigarroa said, referring to the estimated 300 patients from hospitals in the Gulf Coast region who are being transferred to San Antonio through the National Disaster Medical System.
Subsequently over the Labor Day weekend, many faculty and students went to KellyUSA and other shelters to assist the relief efforts. Some worked with the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District in clinical screening and medical assessment of refugees who are not critically ill.
Elsewhere in the letter, Dr. Cigarroa said deans of the Health Science Center’s medical, dental, nursing, graduate biomedical and allied health sciences schools will work to assist health professional students and residents who need to be accommodated.
He also mentioned Project HOPE, which is collaborating with the federal government to provide health professional services aboard the U.S.N.S. Comfort, a tertiary care hospital ship. He invited Health Science Center faculty to consider volunteering by contacting Project HOPE: www.projecthope.org.
“Of course, this is a situation that changes daily, and we will continue to communicate with our campus family and the public about the many ways we can all participate in helping be a part of this historic relief mission,” Dr. Cigarroa said.