In the spirit of generosity and public service, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center was able to collect donations totaling $2,065.15 for relief efforts for Puerto Rico.
Luisa Ramírez de Lynch, PT, DPT, C/NDT, physical therapist in the College of Health Professions, was personally impacted by Hurricane Maria’s effects in Puerto Rico, since her family lives on the island.
“Shortly after Maria hit the island and the reality of the enormous devastation was beginning to surface, Dr. Lori Gonzalez came by my office to check on my family,” said Dr. Luisa Ramírez de Lynch, who served as a catalyst in getting the relief efforts started with the help of the Offices of Equity and Diversity and Special Events at UTHSC. “I am very touched by how many people have shown deep concerns and empathy for what is happening in Puerto Rico.”
Hurricane Maria, the strongest hurricane to make landfall in Puerto Rico since 1928, left a path of destruction on the island, wrecking electrical and water systems. In fact, less than 10 percent of the island is estimated to have power and water since Hurricane Maria made landfall in late September.
“My family is thankfully OK,” Dr. Ramírez de Lynch said. “They are, however, getting used, the best they are able, to the new normal on the island with no power, no potable water, and limited food supplies.”
Reports of the lack of resources, such as food, water, and communications, are challenges being faced by the people on the island, especially in the health care system. This is a major concern for the estimated 69 hospitals on the island.
The American Red Cross and a local organization called Memphis for Puerto Rico is responding to the needs of the people in Puerto Rico. Dr. Ramírez de Lynch, who is involved with the local Memphis for Puerto Rico group, said they are in need of donations that will be flown to the island on a plane from JetBlue.