Local physician Janice Santos Cortes is working to provide relief on the island devastated by Hurricane Maria.
In the wake of Hurricane Maria, residents of Puerto Rico are facing severe challenges, including the devastation of health care on the island. Janice Santos Cortes, MD, an assistant professor of surgery (urology) and a physician with Brown Urology, is working to help.
Hospitals are working with short supplies of fuel and medicines, says Santos Cortes, a native of Puerto Rico. Dialysis clinics are struggling with unreliable power supplies and vaccinations and mental health care are urgently needed.
Santos answered questions about the immediate and longer-term needs in Puerto Rico.
Q: How have you been involved in helping to respond to the disaster in Puerto Rico?
Our Doctoras Boricuas network has established a supply chain fueled by donations from institutions and private donors from all over the country, collected through a GoFundMe page. In Rhode Island, I have been working with the Association of Puerto Rican Professionals of Rhode Island in collecting supplies, and our Department of Urology (part of Brown Physicians, Inc.) had a fundraiser among employees. The proceeds will be donated to the effort of the association to transport supplies. My patients have approached me, too, and donated by their own initiative.
I am currently trying to coordinate transport for supplies—transport is the most limiting factor. We are also in need of medical supplies and medications. I am thinking about other ideas for fundraisers and academic partnerships as this develops. This will be a long-term recovery.
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