As a health care organization committed to humanitarian benefit, Mayo Clinic reaches out to assist in large-scale humanitarian tragedies.When devastating earthquakes struck Haiti in January 2010, Mayo Clinic and its employees responded. Mayo helped aid organizations already established in Haiti by providing immediate financial assistance of $500,000.
Mayo sent a team to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in May 2010 to evaluate how Mayo could use its specialized strengths to provide care to earthquake victims. The mantra of care teams is to help provide service as guests of the region, safety for patients and care teams, and sustainability so that benefits will continue after teams leave. Mayo decided to send small teams to Haiti over several months.
Volunteer groups of physician consultants, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses and other health care providers began traveling to Haiti each month in early 2011, with Mayo paying for travel expenses, food and lodging. Teams are currently staffing a re-hydration clinic at St. Damien's Hospital.
Mary Fargen, a Mayo Clinic Health System physician assistant in Adams, Minn., was recently named 2011 Humanitarian Physician Assistant of the Year by the American Academy of Physician Assistants.
Fargen, who has traveled on 13 medical aid missions to Haiti in the past three years, was recognized for her commitment to human rights and her efforts to provide accessible, quality health care to the underserved. Fargen was a member of Mayo Clinic's inaugural Haiti-relief team, nicknamed "Servant Hearts," and she has also volunteered her time and talents through the Haitian and Caribbean American Organization of Texas (HACAOT).