RCO OF THE WEEK: Remedy: UCSF students provide medical supplies to improve lives

School of Medicine

Hospitals generate millions of tons of waste each year, discarding annually over $200 million worth of usable medical equipment and costing millions in disposal fees.  Remedy at UCSF, a student-led organization, collects and redistributes these supplies to under-resourced communities locally and globally.

Program Overview:

U.S. regulations often deem useable medical items, those neither used nor contaminated, as medical waste.  For example, items that are part of prepackaged Emergency Department kits that are not used in a procedure, or spare gloves and instruments on surgical trays that are reusable, must be thrown out.  Remedy at UCSF donates this type of equipment to partners in the developing world, where the supplies are lacking and lifesaving.

Remedy at UCSF has placed bins throughout UCSF’s Moffitt-Long Hospital where donated supplies are sorted, inventoried and stored.  Students and hospital staff work collaboratively to constantly monitor which materials can be safely recycled from unused surplus.  The program is now expanding into the emergency departments of Highland General Hospital and San Francisco General Hospital.

UCSF medical professionals and students take supplies to clinics while volunteering locally and abroad. Over the past year, the program collected 1,9000 pounds of supplies and has fielded a record number of requests for Remedy supplies for UCSF projects.  Recently, Remedy has supported projects in Cambodia, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Kenya, India, Indonesia, Nicaragua, the Philippines and Tanzania and local projects including the UCSF Homeless Clinic and the Berkeley Free Clinic.

How you can be involved?

One of the greatest strengths of Remedy is that getting involved is easy and does not require big time investment.  Here are a few simple ways you can help:

(1) Remedy at UCSF is always looking for volunteers to help collect and organize supplies.

(2) Remedy depends on supply donations from UCSF hospitals.  If there is not a bin where you work, we can set one up and make weekly collections.

(3) If you are working with resource-poor populations, in the Bay Area or across the globe, you can contact us for medical supplies.

If you would like to be involved with Remedy, please contact the Remedy leadership at [email protected].