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Helping Haiti

Barb Bisset, PhD is the executive director of the WakeMed Health & Hospitals Emergency Services Institute. 
WakeMed employees volunteering in Waveland, Mississippi, in the wake of Katrina

WakeMed employees, physicians, supporters and readers of this blog have demonstrated an immense spirit of generosity in their continual requests to expand WakeMed’s role in the response to the catastrophic earthquake that recently impacted Haiti.  We remain in close contact with the American Red Cross and the North Carolina Office of Emergency Medical Services (OEMS), and continue to hear that the best way we can contribute at this time is through monetary contributions to reliable organizations. Lists of suggested organizations can be found in these articles News & Observer Article, CNN Article as well as a multi-page insert in today’s News & Observer. 

WakeMed has many supplies and equipment and a highly-trained team ready for disaster response.  The federal government is well aware of WakeMed’s assets, disaster training and willingness to help with recovery efforts.  In fact, much of the disaster readiness and response equipment and training that has been afforded to WakeMed are a direct result of federal funding acquired through the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Assistant Secretary’s Preparedness & Response (ASPR) office and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

We anticipate that the recovery and reconstruction in the wake of this devastating earthquake will be an extensive process, and expect there to be many opportunities in the months and years to come to join volunteer and mission groups deploying teams to Haiti.  WakeMed stands at the ready to help and will call on our employees, physicians and community to participate in the response. 

If you are interested in supporting these efforts, we encourage you to join the CapRAC State Medical Assistance Team (SMAT 800) by logging on to  This team’s mission is to assist local, regional and state efforts by providing medical care and resources to those in need through an effective, controlled, systematic process, reducing death and disability resulting from sudden or serious injury and illness caused by natural or man-made disasters.

  • When registering, please provide as much information as possible and try to complete all nine sections. 
  • WakeMed employees should affiliate themselves with the Capital RAC State Medical Assistance Team, which is housed at WakeMed. 
  • Once accepted to the team, all members will be required to attend a two-day SMAT Initial Training course.
  • You will also be required to attend an appropriate amount of trainings/events throughout the year to maintain knowledge and level of readiness (quarterly training, as well as the opportunity to participate in special events is offered throughout the year and does count toward SMAT Continuing Education).

Medical professionals not associated with a hospital or EMS system are also encouraged to volunteer for the Medical Reserve Corps.

While we may feel like we are not doing anything to assist, it is important to understand that an uncontrolled deployment or sending supplies that cannot be distributed is not an effective way to help.  Our hearts and minds are with all who are suffering in Haiti during this devastating time, and we are committed to helping our neighbors across the globe in their times of need.  Right now, the best way we can do this to provide monetary support.