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Providing Aid When Disaster Strikes (Twice)

Back-to-back in September 2017, two Category 5 hurricanes slammed the U.S. Virgin Islands. In the months that followed, three waves of the Johns Hopkins Go Team—a response team of the Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response—traveled to St. John to provide hands-on medical care and bring much-needed supplies and medicines.

As the territory is recovering, we engaged in a public-private collaboration with Bloomberg Philanthropies—former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s nonprofit—to augment federal response and support of the recovery effort.

A team of Johns Hopkins experts in disaster response, nursing, facilities and population health went to the Virgin Islands last January, and again this past June, to assess the health system and available services. They reviewed the needs, capacity and location of the Myrah Keating Smith Community Health Center and Morris F. de Castro Clinic in St. John. These facilities sustained extensive damage during the hurricanes, greatly hampering health services on the islands.

Our team also examined telemedicine needs and performed a timed study to assess emergency services on the island, including infrastructure, staffing, facilities and transport.

Based on their assessment, it became very clear that island authorities need to rethink and rebuild the health care system. As the project wrapped up, the team made recommendations, including improving health facilities and infrastructure, expanding access to care and increasing population health programs.

We see tremendous potential for the islands’ health system not only to recover, but to be strategically positioned to better serve the medical needs of its residents and the more than 2 million tourists who visit each year. 

This post highlights content from JHI’s FY17-FY18 Impact Report, Realizing the Mission. Read the full report and check out this video to learn more about our transformational work in international collaborative health from the last two fiscal years.



Charles Wiener

President, Johns Hopkins Medicine International Professor of Medicine and Physiology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Charles Wiener oversees Johns Hopkins Medicine’s international enterprises, developing sustainable, innovative collaborations that raise the standard of health care around the world and providing personalized care for diverse populations. Johns Hopkins Medicine International serves as the global ambassador of the Johns Hopkins Medicine mission, leveraging JHM’s extensive knowledge base in medicine, nursing, public health, medical education, research and health care administration to deliver the promise of medicine across the globe. Dr. Wiener previously spent three years as Johns Hopkins Medicine International’s vice president of academic affairs and vice president of Asia operations. In these roles, he led multiple global projects, including strategic planning, oversight of educational infrastructure planning and medical training. He focused on coordinating faculty involvement in advancing Johns Hopkins’ growing international collaborations. Click here to learn more about Charlie.

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