Skip to main content

Northwell Health sends 120 volunteers to Texas for Harvey recovery


In the wake of the devastation that Hurricane Harvey inflicted upon the Houston area, the need for medical care has risen to crisis levels for those impacted by the flooding and who rely on their healthcare providers to manage existing chronic conditions. In response, Northwell Health has connected with its counterparts at the Houston–based MD Anderson Cancer Center to offer assistance to match the hospital's specific needs. Within 24 hours after requesting help from its clinicians, Northwell has enrolled more than 600 employees interested in volunteering. Beginning Monday, September 4, the first Northwell team of 40 will be deployed to Houston.

"Many of their [MD Anderson's] employees are unable to commute to work because of the flooding," said Michael J. Dowling, Northwell Health's president and CEO. "Many others have been working non-stop for nearly a week to care for patients. Their staff requires relief so they can attend to their personal needs in the aftermath of this devastating storm. They reached out to us because we are one of the largest cancer providers in New York and have, based on an assessment of needs, the skill level of employees who could help. We put a call out to Northwell Health team members with oncology credentials and to nurses system-wide. The response, as we expected, has been overwhelming."

Mr. Dowling explained that Northwell understands the need in Houston all too well. Its experience has included coordinated emergency response locally – for incidents such as Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Irene – and nationally through sending teams into affected areas such as New Orleans, following Hurricane Katrina.

"We know the exhaustion factor, the physical and emotional toll these catastrophic events have on patients, caregivers, family members and the public at large. I thank those volunteers who have responded to this call to action, and every team member who has expressed a desire to help those who are suffering."

Northwell is sending 120 clinicians in total, deploying teams of 40 (one team per week who will relieve the prior team) over a three-week period. The situation will continue to be monitored and can be adjusted based on need and the fluidity of the situation.

After explaining that she and a team of nurses would be deploying on Monday, Karen Gleason, RN, AVP, Cancer Service Line, Northwell Health said: "The nurses at Northwell are truly exceptional. Compassion is what we do…we take care of each other. It is an honor for us to be helping the staff at MD Anderson."

Given the storm's impact on the ability to travel around the Houston area, the staffing challenges posed to area hospitals are significant. Volunteers included physicians, oncology nurses, technicians and personnel.

# # #

About Hofstra University
Hofstra University is a nationally ranked and recognized private university in Hempstead, NY, that is the only school to ever host three consecutive presidential debates (2008, 2012 and 2016). Our campus is a leafy oasis just a quick train ride away from New York City and all its cultural, recreational and professional opportunities. Hofstra offers small classes and personal attention, with the resources, technology and facilities of a large university. Students can choose from more than 160 undergraduate program options and 165 graduate program options in the liberal arts and sciences, education, health professions and human services, the Peter S. Kalikow School of Government, Public Policy and International Affairs, the Fred DeMatteis School of Engineering and Applied Science, the Frank G. Zarb School of Business, the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication, the Maurice A. Deane School of Law, the Hofstra Northwell School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies, and the Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine. Hofstra University is a dynamic community of more than 11,000 students from around the world who are dedicated to civic engagement, academic excellence and becoming leaders in their communities and their careers.

About Northwell Health
Northwell Health is New York State's largest health care provider and private employer, with 22 hospitals, over 550 outpatient facilities and nearly 15,000 affiliated physicians. We care for more than two million people annually in the New York metro area and beyond, thanks to philanthropic support from our communities. Our 62,000 employees – 15,000+ nurses and 3,900 employed doctors, including members of Northwell Health Physician Partners – are working to change health care for the better. We're making breakthroughs in medicine at the Feinstein Institute. We're training the next generation of medical professionals at the visionary Zucker School of Medicine and the Hofstra Northwell School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies. For information on our more than 100 medical specialties,

Brian Mulligan
[email protected]

Go to top