Centric Cleveland donated their time to help not-for-profit organization MedWish International sort through discarded medical goods to re-purpose for countries in need of supplies and equipment.
Did you know there are roughly 5.9 million tons of waste generated by U.S. hospitals each year? Medwish International, a not-for-profit in Cleveland, Ohio, has recovered more than 3.5 million pounds of this surplus in their mission to sort and distribute discarded medical supplies and equipment as humanitarian aid to more than 100 developing countries around the world.
This organization’s goal of saving lives – and the environment – hit close to home with us, so we organized a team from our Cleveland business unit to donate our time to help Medwish collect discarded medical waste that can be re-purposed and shipped to countries in need.
Before jumping in, a volunteer coordinator named Ben gave us – Rob Meyer, Omeed Veiseh, Clay Ruffner, and Mallory Mankea – a short tour of the facilities. The tour, on August 31st, included a peek into the items that had been packaged for individual doctors traveling to distribute the supplies. The goods included up to 40-foot cargo containers – enough to help a group of people start a hospital from the ground up.
It was incredible to see how the entire organization is run out of the one warehouse, with no plush offices or any real items of luxury for its leaders. After hearing that the entire organization only has 10 actual staff members, it became extremely apparent just how much they relied on volunteers like ourselves to help sort through what seemed like an endless sea of brown boxes filled to the brim with various medical supplies and equipment.
Helping to Save Lives
So, we got started. We worked alongside a couple other volunteers chipping away at the huge reserve of unsorted materials that MedWish has. We sorted through a few large cardboard containers of mainly respiratory supplies, completing what they call the “fine sort” process of separating items out by SKU or reference number and combining like items from different makers based on their descriptions and sizes.
After a couple of hours, we had sorted hundreds of medical products in different storage bins, as well as bulk-packaged items for shipment.
We were able to make a good dent sorting through a large supply of mostly respiratory items, but we also realized just how much help this organization truly needs. Because this organization relies almost exclusively on volunteers, they always are looking for help.
Not only did we leave with a feeling of satisfaction knowing we made a difference and really helped out that day, but also with a sense of longing to continue to come back and do more after seeing just how big of a project this really is. This experience also reminded our Cleveland team about the importance of giving back to our community, which is one of Centric’s core values “Ignite Passion for the Greater Good.”
Another added benefit: Every one of us walked away with at least a little more knowledge about various medical products than they had before the day started.
About MedWish International
MedWish International is a not-for-profit organization that saves lives and the environment by repurposing discarded medical supplies and equipment to provide humanitarian aid in developing countries.
MedWish was founded in 1993 by Dr. Lee Ponsky. In the summer of 1991 Lee spent time on a medical compound in Ogbomosho, Nigeria, where he served as a surgical assistant and spent time with the World Health Organization. It was there he witnessed first-hand the obvious lack of medical supplies in developing countries, Lee was determined to help resolve this need.
Prior to beginning medical school in 1993, he created an organization that would collect unused medical supplies and donate them to developing countries: therefore repurposing medical surplus that would otherwise be discarded. MedWish was born.
Robert Meyer is a consultant at Centric Cleveland with experience in various roles, including Business Analyst, Quality Assurance, and Project Management. He’s also skilled in Organizational Change Management and Process initiatives. In his spare time, he plays the piano and frequents live music venues. Contact him here.