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Seven student volunteers of the U's Medical Reserve Corp in front of a van.

Volunteers for Hurricane Katrina relief (left to right): Amy Becker, School of Public Health student and van driver; Natalie Aldrich, Academic Health Center student and employee and van driver; Jill DeBoer, Academic Health Center director of Emergency Preparedness; Ryan Groeschl, Medical School student and van driver; Jane Berg, University Medical Reserve Corps coordinator; Terry Cook, University Emergency Management director; and Shannon O'Connell, School of Public Health student and van driver.

Operation Minnesota Lifeline

departs U campus for Louisiana with water, food, health supplies, and Volunteers depart U campus for Louisiana with water, food, health supplies, and medical expertise

Published on September 14, 2005

Two University of Minnesota vans bound for Baton Rouge, Louisiana, left the Minneapolis campus Monday with water, food, and supplies provided by University Dining Services, Fairview Health System, and private donors. Today, 20 University of Minnesota Medical Reserve Corps members, and 28 Mayo Clinic staff depart for Louisiana to provide primary care medical services for survivors displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

Called "Operation Minnesota Lifeline," this collaborative project is led by the American Refugee Committee, and includes teams from Mayo Clinic, the University of Minnesota, and the College of St. Catherine. The 70-80 personnel will provide medical services to Hurricane Katrina survivors starting next week in areas south and west of Baton Rouge.

This initial wave of volunteers will work for a two-week shift and then be replaced by new personnel arriving from these Minnesota organizations. The members of the "Operation Minnesota Lifeline" coalition will document the work of the partnership with the intention of using it as a model for emergency response situations in other regions.

To learn more about the University's efforts to help with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, see:

Regents pass tuition waiver for hurricane-impacted students

U opens arms (and doors) for victims of hurricane

University of Minnesota Medical Reserve Corps set to deploy to hurricane area

With the arrival of the volunteers, "Operation Minnesota Lifeline" will 1) begin a mass immunization campaign starting at the Cajun Dome emergency shelter in Lafayette; 2) provide health care services, including chronic, elderly, and mental health care, at a special needs center; 3) send mobile health units, consisting of at least one physician and 2 nurses, to provide primary care for evacuees and residents at 34 shelters around the region; 4) augment and give relief to the staff of parish health units and the LSU Medical Center.

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