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Helping Our Colleagues in Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria

Oct 03, 2017

Paul W. Abramowitz, Pharm.D., Sc.D. (Hon.), FASHP

IT HAS BEEN AN EXTREMELY DIFFICULT TIME with a series of major natural disasters that have had a profound impact on the lives of so many people. The severe devastation caused by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the effect it has had on our fellow citizens across the entire island have been horrific. The idea of not having electricity, clean water, housing, and other basic infrastructure is difficult to comprehend, especially when considering how our pharmacist colleagues and other members of the interprofessional team are at the same time struggling to provide patient care.

Immediately after the hurricane struck Puerto Rico, ASHP reached out to our affiliate, the Colegio de Farmacéuticos de Puerto Rico and its Commission of Health-System Pharmacists, to see how we could help. We also sent a message to every ASHP member in Puerto Rico to let them know that we are thinking about them and are here to help. Our outreach to our affiliate and members in Puerto Rico will be ongoing as the major work of rebuilding continues, and ASHP will update you on those efforts and the heroic work of pharmacists and other healthcare providers following the hurricane.

ASHP recently made the decision to make a cash donation to The Care Fund, which was established and is being administered by our friends and colleagues at the American Hospital Association (AHA). ASHP is also providing a dollar-for-dollar match for ASHP staff members who wish to make a charitable contribution. AHA created The Care Fund to provide assistance to hospital employees in Puerto Rico who so desperately need our help. All the funds raised through this effort will be distributed by hospitals in Puerto Rico to their employees who need it most. ASHP is also providing additional days off to ASHP staff members who wish to volunteer to support relief efforts in Puerto Rico and other areas in need.

Another manifestation of the hurricane in Puerto Rico is the impact it will have on pharmaceutical manufacturing and, in turn, drug shortages. ASHP’s drug shortages team continues to work with the Food and Drug Administration and other stakeholders to assess shortages and to find solutions to help mitigate the impact on patient care. Please continue to monitor the ASHP website and other communications for updates.

I know that all of us stand together in expressing our thoughts, prayers, and support for our pharmacy colleagues and all of the people of Puerto Rico as they continue to struggle with the devastation on the ground and begin to rebuild. ASHP and our nearly 45,000 members will be with them as they forge the path to recovery.

Thank you for everything that you do for your patients, and for the thoughts and support you are providing to our colleagues in need.

Sincerely,

Paul

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