Ukrainian humanitarian crisis hits home for Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute scientist

Photo from Ukrainian San Antonio drive cohosted by Student Government Association
From left are City Councilman Manny Peláez; City Councilwoman Adriana Rocha Garcia, PhD; Ukrainian San Antonio President Olena Garcia; Ukrainian San Antonio Board Member Olenka Bravo; and state Sen. José Menéndez.

Dmytro Kovalskyy, PhD, research scientist-senior at the Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute, receives real-time updates from friends and colleagues living in Ukraine. One of those keeping him informed is his twin brother, Olexander, who remains there, while some family members have fled the country to Poland.

Photo of Kovakskyy brothers
Dmytro Kovalskyy, PhD, right, and his brother, Olexander.

Dr. Kovalskyy, a board member of the nonprofit Ukrainian San Antonio and native of Kyiv, is exceedingly grateful for the medical supplies donated April 25 at a temporary collection station at UT Health San Antonio. UT Health San Antonio built relationships with two leading agencies for supporting Ukrainian relief efforts: Ukrainian San Antonio and the United Way’s United for Ukraine.

The Student Government Association cohosted the collection of community donations with San Antonio City Council Members Manny Peláez and Adriana Rocha Garcia, PhD.

“In the current catastrophe more than 4 million people are displaced, and all of the supply chains are destroyed,” Dr. Kovalskyy said. “It is now COVID plus war in Ukraine, and we are largely depleted of even basic supplies. Our nonprofit group communicates directly with people on the front lines about what is needed.”

Tourniquets and first-aid trauma kits are among the most urgently sought items.

“One tourniquet costs $20 and saves a life,” Dr. Kovalskyy said. “The highest source of death is lack of immediate medical care for traumatic injuries, including of the extremities. Soldiers have seconds to stop the bleeding of another soldier or a civilian. Our goal is for every serviceman who fights on the front line to be equipped with a tourniquet.”

Photo of boxes of donated Ukraine medical supplies
All dropped-off supplies were donations from the community.

Dr. Kovalskyy is involved in drug discovery, designing small molecules as potential drugs. He uses computer modeling to screen top candidate compounds.

On March 17, UT Health San Antonio posted an item titled “Two organizations to consider for assisting Ukrainians.” The story includes links to the organizations mentioned above. Ukrainian San Antonio held a previous supply drive in March outside a local hotel.

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