Newswise — After the cataclysmic explosion in Beirut, Lebanon on Aug. 4, Rush University Medical Center sprang into action to help those significantly impacted by the catastrophe.

Lebanese-American Rima Dafer, MD, MPH, professor of Neurological Sciences, at Rush, was born in Beirut and has studied and lectured at several of the medical institutions affected and damaged by the explosion. Knowing Beirut was in need of medical help, Dafer reached out to her fellow colleagues  Stephanie Crane, MD, director of Rush University’s Office of Global Health, and David Ansell, MD, MPH, senior vice president for community health equity at Rush.

“Rush has always been committed to global health, with its work in Haiti and the Dominica Republic,” Dafer says.  “When I reached out to Dr. Crane and Dr. Ansell, they did not hesitate for a moment, and immediately offered their help and assistance.”

With the support of the Rush Office of Community Engagement, a partnership was formed with Project C.U.R.E. to send containers of medical supplies to Beirut. These medical supplies include everything from bed linens and towels, to gloves and sterile dressing, IV catheters, syringes, needles, gauze, diapers and more.

While the supplies being sent were procured free of charge, funds were still needed to ship the containers. With the help from contributions made by Rush employees and outside donors, a container was secured to be airlifted to Lebanon.

Seeing the quick success of this first round of aid,  Dafer, Ansell and Crane decided to continue the partnership with Project C.U.R.E and work toward sending another container that will be larger, allowing for more medical supplies.  Project C.U.R.E. has now reopened the donation webpage, where anyone can make contributions to deliver the new container to hospitals in Beirut. 

With this catastrophe coinciding with the COVID-19 pandemic, it has left the country in crisis and in desperate need of help. Rush will continue its work to aid those in Beirut and is asking others to consider making a contribution, which can be made here.

“Without the help and support of Rush, in particular Dr. Crane and Dr. Ansell, I would not have imagined being able to arrange for the shipment of these necessary medical supplies,” Dafer says. “I am proud to work at such an institution with its relentless effort to secure global health, in particular during a crisis such as what Beirut is going through.”