Asheville not-for-profit Sisters of Mercy Urgent Care received national attention for its Haiti project when it received the Urgent Care Association of America’s (UCAOA) prestigious Humanitarian Award. It is the second time the industry has given the award for dedicated philanthropy work. The award was presented at the organization’s annual celebration in Orlando, Fla. The Humanitarian Award recognizes substantial volunteer contributions that are medically related and have a positive impact on a national or international cause.
“Sisters of Mercy Urgent Care is a stellar representation of our industry with its incredible international charitable efforts over the past year – truly making the world a better, healthier place in areas that need it most,” said P. Joanne Ray, chief executive officer of UCAOA. “We are honored to award Sisters of Mercy Urgent Care our second annual Humanitarian Award.”
Sisters of Mercy Urgent Care's (SOMUC) Mercy for Haiti project began in 2010 following the deadly 7.0 magnitude earthquake that killed more than 316,000 and injured more than 300,000 additional people on the island nation. SOMUC’s Team Mercy made it their mission to provide health care to the people of Haiti, sending medical supplies and teams of volunteers to treat those affected by the earthquake.
The project initially provided medical care to those critically injured in the earthquake, but Team Mercy continued to work with the same physicians for six years, going back with teams four times each year to provide treatment for prevalent illnesses, many of which are caused by malnutrition and poor living conditions. On May 22, Team Mercy will make their fourteenth trip to Haiti, working alongside their Haitian colleagues to treat approximately 1,000 patients over a five-day period.
“The staff of Sisters of Mercy Urgent Care is honored to receive the 2016 Urgent Care Association of America Humanitarian Award for our mission work,” said Sisters of Mercy Urgent Care Medical Director Ellen Lawson, M.D. “When the devastating earthquake struck Haiti in 2010, we felt the call to serve as emergency disaster relief because we could be the hearts, hands and feet of mercy on the ground in Haiti.”
Since 2010, Sisters of Mercy Urgent Care has completed 14 missions – 13 to Haiti and one to the Philippines – providing medical care, supplies and food for those in need.
In combination with international medical missions, each year SOMUC provides more than a half a million dollars in charitable and uncompensated medical care in Western North Carolina.
“Pope Francis has declared this year as the Jubilee Year of Mercy, so the timing of this award has special meaning for us,” said Dr. Lawson. “The Sisters of Mercy’s commitment to service has continued, uninterrupted, for 116 years. As we serve people, whether it be locally or internationally, we strive to not only deliver good healthcare but to do so in a spirit of mercy.”
This award comes at the start of National Urgent Care Awareness Month, an industry-wide campaign to educate patients about when to seek medical treatment at an urgent care center versus a hospital emergency room and the important role urgent care centers play in overall patient care and health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1/3 of all emergency-room visits are not life threatening. In addition to freeing up ER staff for true crises, visiting urgent care facilities for non-life threatening injuries and illnesses can save both time and money.
Sisters of Mercy’s efforts in Haiti are supported by donations to the Catherine McAuley Mercy Foundation, which allow Sisters of Mercy to perform this important, life-saving work. Contributions may be made at www.urgentcares.org/mercy.