Sharing a Laugh in Haiti

The University of Maryland Medical Center has been sending medical teams to Haiti to assist in the earthquake relief efforts since January. While we’ve treated tens of thousands of patients and saved many lives, this photo — of Shock Trauma OR nurse Steve Clevenger sharing a laugh with a young Haitian patient — captures the spirit of what our relief mission is all about.

Steve Clevenger cares for a Haitian child

Nurse Manager Named Hometown Hero by the American Red Cross

By Malissa Carroll
UMMC Web Team

Connie Noll, the nurse manager for adult psychiatry services at UMMC, has been named a Hometown Hero by the American Red Cross, with whom she has been a volunteer since high school and throughout her career.

“Connie’s lifelong career with the American Red Cross demonstrates a commitment to caring for others that is truly heroic. It is a privilege and honor to work closely with someone whose dedication and compassion for others is seemingly limitless,” says Lisa Rowen, senior vice president for patient care services and chief nursing officer at UMMC. Rowen and Judy A. Slide, director of nursing for neurocare, behavioral health and radiology, nominated Noll for the award.

In 1994, Noll received training in disaster mental health (DMH). Since then, she has responded to help survivors at the most devastating disaster scenes in the country. As a Red Cross volunteer, Noll helped residents of Van Nuys, Calif., cope after a 6.8 earthquake struck the region.

When terrorism struck this country – in Oklahoma after the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building and on Sept. 11, 2001, in Pennsylvania and New York, Noll provided services at the scenes in the immediate crisis and in the months afterward.

She also visited New Orleans one month after Hurricane Katrina to aid local relief efforts. There, she served as manager for staff mental health and oversaw 2,000 paid and volunteer Red Cross staff. Last year, Noll provided support at the site of a plane crash in Buffalo, NY, where she accompanied families of the crew to the crash site.

In addition to her work with the national Red Cross, Noll remains active at the local level as well. She leads Red Cross Mental Health volunteers at the organization’s York, Pa., chapter and is a part of the Disaster Action Team that responds to local fires and other civil events in an effort to provide crisis intervention, psychological first aid and emergency referrals.

At UMMC, Noll has also been responsive. She was instrumental in establishing the Workforce Resilience Team to aid Medical Center employees after the economic recession began in 2008.

Haiti: Mission of Hope

WBFF-TV FOX 45 reporter Jennifer Gilbert and videographer Darren Durlach were embedded recently with the UM medical team in Haiti. They reported on UM’s ongoing relief efforts to help the Haitian people recover from the devastating earthquake that shook the country in January 2010.

This cover story features the work the UM team is doing in Haiti, which has treated more than 1,000 patients. This includes the moving  story of a 97-year-old diabetic Haitian woman, who was suffering from gangrene in her leg and was near death. Her sister, from Columbia, Maryland, flew to Haiti to help her mother get the care she needed. She was turned down for treatment at various hospitals in Haiti before connecting with the UM team, which performed a life-saving leg amputation.