UMHS Hurricane Relief Effort

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Update on UMHS Puerto Rican Hurricane Relief Efforts

As of January 26, 2018, UMHS staff, faculty and students have raised an estimated $45,000 to help the people of Puerto Rico affected by Hurricane Maria.  Med4You nonprofit founder and UMHS student Ariana Hernandez worked over the recent holiday break with other UMHS students on the island, helping staff clinics and giving donations to the Ponce Research Institute at the Ponce Medical School Foundation, Inc. in Ponce, Puerto Rico.


"We gave $25,000 to the Foundation and the rest of the money is being sent to them," Ms. Hernandez said. "We had three great clinics where UMHS students and Ponce Medical School students participated. Med4You is committed to keep doing these clinics."


Ponce Research Institute President Kenira Thompson, Ph.D. praised UMHS' efforts in a letter dated January 22, 2018.


"Words cannot express how grateful we are for the support provided by you during these difficult times," Dr. Thompson wrote. "You came to our aid with a generous donation, comforting messages, and support for our faculty, students, researchers, and ongoing activities."


An interview with Ariana Hernandez about UMHS students' outstanding contributions to Puerto Rican hurricane relief efforts will be published soon in the UMHS Endeavour blog.


Initial fundraising for Puerto Rico began with a GoFundMe page set up by Med4You and the UMHS Student Government Association right after the disaster hit in September 2017.


UMHS, Spared by Irma & Maria, Reaches Out to Help Puerto Rico & Neighboring Islands


As you know, September was a horrific month for hurricanes in the Caribbean. Many of the islands were directly impacted by these storms, and some of the medical schools on these islands had to be evacuated. Luckily, St. Kitts was not hit head on, as some of our neighboring islands were, and damage to St. Kitts was minimal. UMHS was designed to withstand strong hurricanes and in fact we used our facilities as a safe haven for our students during Hurricane Irma. We are now looking at ways to improve on our design, and have decided to begin the process of installing hurricane shutters over our hurricane-resistant windows. The university has its own generators and water supply, which means we can remain fully operational even if the island’s infrastructure is damaged. The safety of our students is our number one concern, and we will continue to look at ways of preparing for future storms.


Our students have taken the initiative to help raise relief funds for Puerto Rico, which took a direct hit from Hurricane Maria. The goal for our students is to raise $35,000, which will be matched by the university. These funds will be directed to an aid organization that can get aid to where it is needed. Maria destroyed most of the infrastructure in Puerto Rico and it will take years to rebuild. The UMHS community understands the level of damage and suffering occurring in Puerto Rico, and is taking the necessary steps to get them immediate aid. We are proud of our students and their commitment to help those less fortunate. Please consider donating by clicking here.

President Ross forwarded a message from SGA and Med4You in which he said, “I am proud to forward you a communication from our students who have taken the initiative to raise funds for the relief effort in Puerto Rico. They truly are making a difference.”

The full message is below:

To: The UMHS Community

From: Student Government Association and Med4You

“[On] Wednesday, September 20, 2017, our neighboring island, Puerto Rico, suffered the terrible impact of Hurricane Maria. It was not an easy week, especially for many of our students who were not able to contact their loved ones for days. Many have gotten in touch, but communication is still very limited on the island. We could not be more proud of our students, who are attending their classes and studying hard despite the adversity they are facing. We are very proud of you and stand with you. Our students are dedicated, hard-working, passionate, and can persevere under the toughest of conditions. They would do anything to aid in any way they can. Hurricane Maria has left a troubling situation in Puerto Rico, and it pains us to see the destruction and distress. Up until this day, Puerto Rico has limited resources like water, fuel and even food. The situation in Puerto Rico is dire and the devastation is nothing less than cataclysmic. The level of suffering is beyond words and we need to take action to help those who need immediate assistance. We as a community can make a difference by providing critical aid where it is most needed.

“It is the University of Medicine and Health Sciences – Student Government Association’s and Med4You’s honor to show our support to our extended family. We as a community have been working hard and passionately to show Puerto Rico our support, love and care. Over the next 2 weeks our goal is to raise a minimum of $35,000 to be donated to a reputable relief fund. We are now in the process of determining which organization is best suited for this task. Please rest assured that 100% of the proceeds from this fundraiser will go directly towards a non-profit organization that solely seeks to provide immediate relief for Puerto Rico. The following link will take you to our GoFundMe page where donations can be made at We need to act quickly as the situation is desperate. Let’s make a difference. Help ease the desperation, the pain and the suffering, and provide the aid that is so crucial in these moments. The university will be providing us with the resources to reach everyone in our UMHS community including students, alumni, faculty, staff and our affiliated hospitals. President Ross has also generously offered to match any funds we raise. Puerto Rico needs our help, and we are not going to let them down. United we can make a difference.

UMHS, SGA and Med4YouOrg stands with you, Puerto Rico! Help spread the word.

”Nearly $14,000 has been raised so far, and donations are still being accepted at the UMHS “Unidos Por Puerto Rico” GoFundMe page.

Additional Fundraisers & Donation Drives

Additional fundraisers for Puerto Rico have been held in St. Kitts by UMHS students. On Monday, October 2, 2017, SGA and Med4You held a fundraiser for Puerto Rico with a Post-Block 1 Party at Sweet Lime in Port Zante, St. Kitts.

UMHS SGA members also have held various donation drives for Irma and Maria victims, asking students to help with donations of nonperishable food, clothing and supplies at designated drop-off locations around campus.

SGA members Nikole Figueroa and Stephanie Martinez will be contributing an upcoming guest post about all the efforts of UMHS students to help victims of Irma and Marie on neighboring islands.





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