Hey friends and family,
Happy new year from all of us here at Global Response Management. Hopefully you spent some great time with whatever is important to you and yours over the holidays, and are rested and ready to take on 2019.
Dr Quinn – Medical Director
Dr Quinn is a great friend from our days in Mosul: he worked at one of our partner organizations, and made sure our stable patients we delivered to him remained alive. Dr Quinn has been helping us enhance our medical protocols, and providing overall awesome direction in helping GRM build a more robust medical response.
Andy – Operations Support
Say hello to Andy, another friend from Mosul and former British Army Medic who is helping us with our medical protocols and operations planning. Andy has worked in hotspots around the globe including Sierra Leone during the Ebola outbreak, creating the first ever Ebola ward for pregnant patients. He has since developed several management systems in the humanitarian world and worked as an emergency health advisor.
In addition to being this awesome, he’s also a keen mountaineer and an excellent chef, even in remote places.
Sandy & Liz – Communications & Personell Support
What most people don’t know is how much behind the scenes work goes into making GRM tick. While Helen and myself (Alex) have long done much of the promotion, report writing, messaging with you all (who we love!), we’re also both full time nurses who needed a bit of help. So we brought in these three awesome women to give us a hand with everything from creating infographics, producing this newsletter, and sorting through emails of potential volunteers, and thank you’s. Say hello to Sandy, Liz, and Marcella.
Sandy is a junior creative lead at an advertising agency in Dubai, and is expanding her writing experience on Middle Eastern issues, active in the community and her city.
Liz is a photojournalist with a background in Anthropology, Archeology, and Middle Eastern Studies – and has experience in and a love for Yemen.
While these great people have helped us a great deal, there is one area we could still use some support: FINANCE. If any of you out there have experience in Accounting or Finance and have about 5 hours a week on hand and you’d like to support us, our bomb Business Manager Candy would love to have you. Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The meaning behind Semper Vitae:
Semper vitae is Latin for, “always life”. Our hashtags have probably already made that association clear.
But more to the point is the meaning behind it.
The Marine Corps uses the phrase Semper Fi, or Always faithful, as a representation of their commitment to this country, to the Marine Corps, and to their fellow Marines. But it’s not just the literal words that create the meaning.
The definition of Semper is continuously, for all time, always or on going.
Meaning that we are in this for the long run. Where ever people find themselves needing help- our mission is to be there, and we are committing our lives to that cause, in all things, ALWAYS.
Life in Latin is actually the word, “vita”. In English, Vita represents a living document or a resume, the summary of ones work or an evolving document that grows over time (think curriculum vita). Much like how people are living and grow into their potential and the notion that all people have potential.
“Vita” represents the literal translation to the singular version of, “life”, “Vitae” represents the plural, meaning all life.
So when we talk about Semper vitae, what we are literally expressing is our commitment to all life.
The world tends to be a complicated place. And we have all had our struggles. But in Semper Vitae we represent our commitment to helping others in all situations, judgement aside.
I read today that there are multiple parking spots in lower Manhattan that sell for around $1 million dollars.
How insane is that? A parking spot. $1 million dollars to park your car.
I learned this as I was watching late night TV about a CIA agent who goes to work overseas in a war torn country.
I have a hard time watching TV and movies that feature war scenes where civilians are caught up in the fighting. Not because the gruesome cinematic graphics bother me (although after working in emergency medicine and international aid for almost ten years it does tend to hit close to home). But because I know those scenes are playing out in reality half a world away- RIGHT NOW.
As of April 2017, according to the IRIN interactive map, there were over 40, “active conflicts” in the world. And that doesn’t include areas that are impacted by terrorism or natural disasters. Over 40 different areas where mothers, brothers, sisters, fathers, son, cousins, neighbors and friends are all suffering as a result of war.
And in most of those areas access to medical care is limited to non-existent. So when a mortar comes through your roof, or your child catches a stray bullet during fighting, you’re stuck.
Once you’ve seen the catastrophic toll of war it’s not easily forgotten and for those of us who work in international aid, we are often left watching these terrible scenes unfold on News broadcasts and internet reports as we wrack our brains and try to figure out feasible ways to respond.
Because in all honesty it’s not our willingness to go that’s the problem, its money.
GRM is unique in the fact that we operate primarily with volunteers and over 90% of our funding goes directly towards operations and patient care. We believe that our efforts and funding need to be directed at operations not just sitting in a bank somewhere- and that doesn’t leave us a lot of wiggle room. Unlike other organizations that have wealthy famous donors or prime time advertising- it’s just us. A group of dedicated volunteers who decided we were going to make a difference in the world.
That’s it. That’s how this started.
In Mosul we received a grant from the World Health Organization and used those funds to save THOUSANDS of lives. In fact it’s estimated to be around 9,000+ (probably closer to 10,000 if we’re being honest).
But in order to keep that mission going: we need money.
Why? Because if we could pay for airline tickets, truck payments, translators and equipment with awesome bad-ass volunteers and kick ass attitudes- we would. And we’d be rich!
But we can’t.
So I’m back to $1 million dollar parking spots. Do you know what we could do with $1 million dollars?
We could fund the startup to every operation we’ve ever considered.
We could send response teams to places like Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Venezuela. We could fund projects that help end the cycles of poverty and illiteracy that contribute significantly to violence, extremism and crime.
We could fund midwife programs that teach local women how to safely deliver babies and provide prenatal care to help decrease infant mortality in already suffering areas.
We could educate local populations on Stop-the-bleed training to increase trauma survival in hard to reach areas torn up by violence.
The list goes on… and on… and on…
We could do a lot of things with just $1 million dollars. So if you know someone with a parking spot in lower Manhattan that they’re willing to give up… let us know.
In the meantime, you can help by sharing our social media posts with your friends and starting the conversation about how we can truly help those affected by war and poverty. And if you’re interested in helping fund raise for us- email me at email@example.com and we’ll get that ball rolling.
Greetings friends and family! Apologies for the long absence, but GRM is once again gearing up!
First off- what have we been doing?
Since November of 2017 GRM has been finishing up a lot of administrative tasks, IE: Paperwork. The bane of all our existence! What does that actually translate to?
GRM was successfully able to keep track of a variety of data throughout the operations in Mosul, Hawija, and Tal Afar, specifically patient data. Keeping a trauma data registry is an important, although tedious task, which allows us to analyze patient outcomes.
So what does our data tell us?
Of patients logged, 53% were critically injured, and based off of data listed our Pre-Hospital Trauma survival rate was 94%– which is on-par with trauma survival rates of the U.S Military.
It also tells us that GRM treated a higher severity of injury than the average trauma center in the U.S (when comparing Injury Severity Scores) and it shows us that we treat more pediatric patients (by about 0.5%). A small margin, but these details affect how we plan for future missions so it’s important to track.
It also bears out that GRM performed MASCAL operations about 33% of the time. Meaning that we are exceptionally well prepared for dealing with large influxes of patients at one time with outstanding outcomes!
All of this is thanks to our awesome volunteers who worked in and out of the field. Without you – none of this would be possible.
We have also recently done some work restructuring the board and making operations more functional. As with anything- GRM has many parts and we are hopeful that this new structure will help make us more efficient and streamlined. Wanna help out more? Email one of us (Pete, Alex, Candy or Helen) and we will totally put you to work.
So where are we going from here?
Currently GRM is working on a partnership with Joint Help for Kurdistan (JHK) – an international non-profit organization working with Yezidis in Kurdistan since 2014. Following the ISIS ignited humanitarian crisis that affected hundreds of thousands of Yezidi’s and other minorities in Kurdistan, these internally displaced people now live in camps in the Duhok Province in the northwest of Kurdistan with no villages or homes to return to. There are two camps in the area, each camp housing around 5,500 people. These camps have limited access to food, medicine, education and basic necessities of living.
We are working to break the cycles of poverty and illiteracy through development of sewing and ceramics micro-businesses by securing craft supplies and equipment, as well as attire for the Yezidi girl’s football (soccer) teams.
We are also working with JHK to facilitate medically necessary surgeries for people in the camps. This is often achieved through a combination of donations, outreach, collaboration with other organizations, and logistical support (like driving and providing a place to stay during the surgery/recovery).
We also hope to support the clinic JHK is running by sending medical volunteers to the area in the near future to support access to primary health care.
Hypertension isn’t the adrenaline pumping emergency that a gunshot wound is- but it turns out it will kill you just the same. And these people need our help. A GOFUND ME (https://www.gofundme.com/yezidi-support) site has been created especially for our work with JHK.
The healthcare crisis in Yemen is rapidly expanding. Currently millions of civilians are dependent on international aid for basic necessities of life and millions more have limited to no access to basic healthcare.
Fighting continues to impact locals, with traumatic injuries overwhelming local resources and exacerbating an already complicated health care crisis. Last week 55 school children were killed when the bus they were riding in was hit by an airstrike.
GRM has drafted a proposal to assist in a similar manner as our operations in Mosul and Tal Afar and we hope to hear back from the World Health Organization (WHO) soon. STAY TUNED!
Recently, Board Member Helen Perry and volunteer Katie Batrouney, assisted a partner organization in a field assessment of the healthcare needs of rural Bangladesh, as well as a site assessment of the Rohingya Refugee Camps located in Cox Bazaar.
The needs in rural Bangladesh are many, to say the least. Lacking medical care, limited to no access to specialty care, pre and post-natal care as well as basic dentistry and optometry mean that basic, easy to treat healthcare problems are left untreated or unrecognized creating a significant burden. While Millions of dollars continue to flow into the Refugee areas (as is absolutely needed given their own crisis) the wonderful Bengali people are also left in a bind. GRM is looking to continue partnering with organizations serving in these areas, as well as to assist in the Refugee camps to help create a lasting, sustainable, healthcare solution for rural Bangladesh.
So how do we move forward and how can you support?
First off: we need volunteers. Paramedics, Nurses, Doctors, Nurse Practitioners, and Physician Assistants. If you are already signed up as a volunteer- please spread the word that we are continuing to expand our roster of volunteers. We also need other volunteers as well: fundraising, event planning, logistics, etc. So call your friends!
Second: Funding. If you know easy ways of getting free money (legally)- let us know. Otherwise we are left raising funds to support our operations. Donations can be made to our website, and honestly even a simple share via social media can make a huge impact.
Third: Swag. Check out our awesome GRM swag. Not only is our swag SUPER comfortable AND stylish- it also helps to support our operations.
So… stay tuned!
-Semper Vitae (Always Life)-
UPDATE: Attached is our official final report from Anbar, complete with links to Google Maps of the current situation in Al Qaim. Please feel free to share this widely!
Greetings everyone, and apologies for the long absence! Throughout the last two months, GRM has been prepping and planning for what was expected to be a long and brutal last battle to kick ISIS out of Iraq: Anbar. The vast desert province has most of the population focused along the river, but large swaths of desert had to be taken before we deployed to towns like Anah, Rawa, and Qaim.
As the last operation to push ISIS out of Iraq commenced, GRM was there on the ground. The only international NGO operating in Anbar prior to and during the offensive, GRM co-located with our former partners, the Iraqi Special Operations Forces medics who enhance our medical capacity and give us the ability to operate safely and as far forward as possible. Our team was on the ground a week prior to the battle to set up and arrange and effective trauma referral pathway, from point of injury to the closest higher level of care.
To everyone’s surprise, the battle that should have taken two months took less than two days for the main city of Qaim, and to the benefit of everyone, there were very few casualties. ISIS took their families and ran, many of them across the border to Syria, where offensives are still raging today. Just because the battle was over doesn’t mean our work is done!
Our team spent the next week doing assessments – on neighborhood services, water treatment plants, and hospitals to be cleaned and repaired – all written up and reported to make access easier for larger organizations that will come later and stay to help rebuild the province. We interviewed families about their needs, liaised with local engineers and former employees of public service systems, and connected with military partners.
There is more work to be done! The battle for Rawa and villages on the north side of the river just finished, and we will deploy our team once again for similar assessments in the coming weeks. Your continued support and donations ensures GRM is able to keep operating and finish our mission in Iraq. Keep following along!
We’re happy to announce: it’s finally here! Global Response Management is now an officially tax-exempt charitable organization. For you, our supporters, this means anything you donated after our filing date (January 26th) is tax deductible.
As we said in our September newsletter, Mosul, Tel Afar, and Hawija operations are now over, we are prepping and planning for the future, as well as making GRM sustainable (overhead costs) for time between operations. We are committed to our mission of bringing pre-hospital trauma care in high-risk, low resource areas – your continued support helps us do that.
GRM was the pioneering organization in the implementation and operation of the Trauma Stabilization Points during the Mosul operation. Beginning in October 2016, we built our organization from the ground up with nothing but donations, successfully creating a 501c3 registered NGO that has deployed teams to the front lines for nearly the last year for Mosul, Tel Afar, and Hawija. Though we are a young organization, we have stabilized and transported thousands of patients on a minimal budget. We are a tried and tested team that is resourceful, passionate, and dedicated to the cause, whose exponential growth over the past year from a few individuals to a organized and structured NGO cannot be understated.
You, our supporters are an essential part of our team. Thank you for following along – more updates soon!
“We believe everyone deserves the best care on the worst day of their lives.”
– Executive Director, Pete Reed
Thank you for checking in on our work here at Global Response Management! Our core staff is still here in Erbil, and we’re working hard planning, vetting volunteers, and responding to the most recent operation in the battles against ISIS.
Our teams were present throughout the Mosul Operation, running Trauma Stabilization Points and transferring the wounded along the Trauma Referral Pathway every step of the way. The operation to re-take Mosul finished in late July, and we quickly moved to the next stage: Tel Afar.
In the weeks before the battle started, GRM’s team helped provide food, water, and referrals to the thousands of displaced families fleeing the city. The quick moving battle proved to be shorter than anticipated, lasting just over two weeks, during which GRM treated civilian and military casualties alike.
In the space between battles, there was still work to be done. Thanks to our team doctor, Dr Azeez, we were able connect with Mosul General, the largest hospital in the city. Teaching a group of over forty doctors and nurses, our Paramedics Monir and Walter led seminars on Sepsis and Infection Control, Airway Control, and Rapid Trauma Assessment.
The next battle in line is Hawija. A small and diverse city south of Erbil and west of Kirkuk, Hawija is one of the last areas to be cleared of ISIS – and GRM deployed and staffed a team in the field for the first stage of the operation. Despite in-country political tensions, GRM will continue to provide trauma stabilization where and when it is needed. Please follow along on social media as we continue our efforts in the next stages of battle.
The Team at Global Response Management
Our Team: Starr
Our EMT Type 1 teams at the Trauma Stabilization Points in Mosul are made of medical professionals from all walks of life. Here’s more in the series about Our Team.
Starr came to us through Global Outreach Doctors (a awesome group of people working hard in the hurricane response in Texas and Florida right now). She’s a former Army nurse, working now in Trauma and Emergency at Oregon Health and Science University.
“My experience with GRM was absolutely amazing. This organization is full of compassionate, high-caliber medical professionals who care for patients in desperate need of medical attention near the front line. I’m proud to be part of the good work that’s being done through GRM. Intense, but very rewarding. I’d go back in a heartbeat. ”
Thank you Starr!
Our EMT Type 1 teams at the Trauma Stabilization Points in Mosul are made of medical professionals from all walks of life. Here’s more in the series about Our Team, what they learned, and how their experience was volunteering with GRM. Kyirsty (a Critical Care and Burn RN) shares some of her thoughts on being part of GRM.
Thank you Kyirsti!
I found GRM through an organization called Global Outreach Doctors. I remember contacting them awhile back about being “on-call” for disaster relief missions. I work in an Emergency Department at a level 1 trauma hospital as well as a burn unit, and with this I have had ongoing training for mass casualty incidents, natural disasters and emergency triage management. While I’m happy I haven’t needed to use this at work, I knew that there were other placed in the world that were not so lucky. I wanted to be in a place where I could utilize this training and put my skills to use.
When I arrived to Iraq, I was picked up at the airport and taken to the GRM house where I received a information about the history of the TSP, the current frontline conditions, a safety debriefing, and introduced to the members of the GRM team. The next morning I was off to Mosul. We arrived in trucks and were oriented to our TSPs. I was staying at a Mosque approximately 200 km away from the active combat zone. I became familiar to my environment, learned what medications were in the pharmacy, and met the Iraqi special forces medics I would be working with for the next three weeks. Immediately when I arrived the mosque had a few ambulatory civilian patients. I was at first really intimidated. Providing primary care to patients as an outsider is inherently difficult for many reasons. However, my fellow team members who had been there for weeks or months prior to my arrival jumped right in. Soon enough it felt like being back at work, patients arrived, we rapidly triaged them and tried managed appropriate dispositions based on the resources available.
As the Iraqi forces pushed forward into the old city, our TSP was moved closer to the front and we established a new clinic that assisted with the Army as well as the special forces. This location happened to be right at the entrance of the old city and the main location where humvees could enter, and liberated civilians could exit. There was a lot of human traffic and here we met, saw and treated thousands of patients. The need was so great that other resources were called in and soon an ambulatory primary care clinic arrived, other TSP physicians dropped in to assist, and non-profit organizations helped move patients and provided essential items like food, water and shoes.
This was a very crazy time but it was also incredible to see so many different facets of society working together to try and lesson the suffering of the people of Mosul. I saw a lot of trauma, I felt and witnessed suffering on a scale so vast that I don’t think I’ll ever find words to accurate describe it. Here in Mosul I also saw such resiliency, beauty and strength resonating out of people that I was continuously reminded that our work had a purpose and for as many people as we could reach, I think it made a difference.
Volunteering with GRM has been a life changing experience. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities I’ve had here and am so impressed by those who have dedicated their lives to such an honorable cause.