|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 12, 2005
NEW YORK CITY HEALTH AND HOSPITALS EMPLOYEES AND PFIZER DONATE $500,000 FOR MOBILE MEDICAL VANS TO AID GULF COAST COMMUNITIES IN NEED
When Pfizer Inc heard that the hardworking employees of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) had contributed over $173,000 to aid their colleagues at struggling public hospitals in hurricane ravaged Louisiana and Mississippi, the company agreed to match every dollar raised with two more, providing a total contribution of approximately $500,000 for the hard hit Gulf coast communities. The funds, donated to the HHC Foundation of New York City, will provide much needed mobile medical vans to provide basic primary and specialty health care services.
The decision was made to fund mobile medical vans after analysis of the devastation showed that these units would help provide care to patients who can’t reach public hospitals. In Mississippi, the Memorial Hospital van will ensure basic primary health services in Gulf coast communities by providing immunizations and health care screenings. In Louisiana, the LSU van will travel between a number of primary health care clinics to provide dental and ophthalmology care.
“The hurricane survivors cannot afford to see the generous national support dwindle,” said Edward J. Rappa, Chairman of the Board of the HHC Foundation. “It is our hope that this event, which is rooted in the spirit of giving that marks this beautiful holiday season, will serve to remind all of us that our help is still desperately needed.”
“The heart wrenching images of overwhelmed healthcare workers waging a desperate struggle to keep people alive amid horrible conditions moved an entire nation,” said HHC President Alan D. Aviles. “But for those of us who work in public hospitals and know how difficult the job can be even under the best of conditions, the tragedy unfolding in the Gulf region touched us in a very personal way.”
“Pfizer is pleased to join the HHC Foundation in providing mobile medical units to help fill a gap in the healthcare infrastructure created by Hurricane Katrina,” said Robert L. Mallett, Senior Vice President of Pfizer Corporate Affairs. “We hope that this partnership with the people and healthcare leaders in the region will help to ensure that patients do not lose access to good health.”
The donations will be presented to Don Smithburg, EVP/CEO of Louisiana State University-Health Care Services of New Orleans and to Gary Marchand, President/CEO of Memorial Hospital, Gulfport, Mississippi at a special ceremony on Monday, December 12, 2005 at 10:00 AM in the Saul Farber Auditorium in the new Bellevue Hospital Ambulatory Care Pavilion, East 28th Street and First Avenue.
Mr. Smithburg said, “We’re in such a desperate situation; the kind of support that has been so freely offered by our brother and sister staff at HHC creates a strand of hope for their colleagues in south Louisiana. Reinforced and coupled with Pfizer’s generosity, you help to give us the strength to continue.”
Mr. Marchand added, "We are truly humbled by the generosity of HHC employees and Pfizer. Their gift addresses a great need for our hospital and will allow us to better serve the healthcare needs of our community during this difficult time. There are very few areas in the country who can understand what we have been through. We are thankful that we have such good friends in New York City to aid in our recovery."