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Project HOPE Medical Surge Team Is Now in Houston Supporting Harris Health System COVID-19 Response

BETHESDA, MD (July 20, 2020) – As COVID-19 cases continue to increase in the greater Houston area, Project HOPE has deployed a medical surge team to Houston support Harris Health System, the public healthcare system for the residents of Harris County, Texas.

“Project HOPE worked with Harris Health to provide medical surge staff in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, and we are humbled and privileged to be able to provide additional personnel to support their staff who have been working around the clock to care for COVID-19 patients,” said Project HOPE President and CEO Rabih Torbay. “Our initial wave of nurses have already started working, and more will arrive in the days to come. We’re also ready to provide additional support, if needed.”

“It is important that we do not stretch our nurses too thin. The health, welfare and safety of our nurses is paramount,” says Pamela Russell, RN, MHA, BSN, NEA-BC, associate administrator nursing operations, Harris Health System. “The first wave of nurses Harris Health received from Project HOPE were a welcomed gift.  They were excited and eager to do whatever they can to ease the burden of our nurses – their peers.  It is also so important that we maintain the level of safe, quality care our patients are accustomed to receiving.  The Project HOPE nurses are knowledgeable, highly qualified and equally concerned about patient safety and care quality – a perfect match.”

Project HOPE’s medical surge team in Houston is comprised of nurses able to work in an ICU or other locations with staffing gaps at both Ben Taub and Lyndon B. Johnson hospitals as well as other Harris Health System facilities. As part of its broader effort to transform the health and well-being of people and communities worldwide, Project HOPE has deployed volunteers to locations in need since its founding in 1958.

In addition to this surge staffing, Project HOPE has also delivered two shipments of personal protective equipment (PPE) to Harris Health System to support its COVID-19 response efforts. In May, Project HOPE delivered 18,500 respirator masks and 20,000 surgical masks donated by Eli Lilly and Company. A shipment of 75,000 gloves and 44,000 protective surgical gowns was delivered in June as part of Project HOPE’s joint effort with Business Roundtable and Healthcare Ready to procure and deliver millions of pieces of PPE to health facilities across America.

About Project HOPE

Project HOPE has more than 60 years’ experience responding to some of the world’s greatest health crises, including being one of the only international humanitarian relief organizations on the ground in Wuhan as the COVID-19 outbreak began. Since January, Project HOPE has been providing critical supplies, training, and other support to frontline health workers treating patients and working to contain the spread of the virus globally, including in the U.S. To date, Project HOPE’s COVID-19 efforts have reached over 100 countries and includes providing over 8.5 million pieces of PPE, training over 30,000 frontline responders on prevention and treatment of COVID-19, and providing medical staffing to locations including Houston, Chicago, Navajo Nation, and Montgomery County, Maryland. For more information on Project HOPE, visit projecthope.org and follow @projecthopeorg.

About Harris Health System

Harris Health System celebrates more than 54 years of championing better health for patients, their families and the community, connecting them to high-quality healthcare services with a focus on primary care, wellness and prevention through its network of 48 clinics, health centers, specialty locations and hospitals. Harris Health is a proud recipient of the prestigious National Committee for Quality Assurance designation for its patient-centered medical homes. Harris Health is staffed by nationally recognized physician faculty and residents from its medical school partners: Baylor College of Medicine; McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth); and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

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