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Tija Danzig, Senior Director, US Programs shares a story about one of our partners in Florida in the response to Hurricane Ian.
This is the first story in a three-part series of blog posts highlighting the remarkable work of Americares partners in communities they serve in the path of Hurricane Ian.
I’d like to tell you about Nadine Singh and the impact she’s made here in Fort Myers, Fla. Deanie, as she’s known, arrived in Florida as an undocumented immigrant from Jamaica and went on to found Premier Mobile Health Services. Her free clinic comprises two mobile units and a walk-in clinic, providing access to quality health care with services for medically vulnerable community members and those who are most at risk of developing and experiencing long-term illnesses and hospitalizations.
Growing up with limited access to health care, Deanie dedicated her life to helping others so they wouldn’t experience the same challenges. She studied to become a registered and board-certified nurse practitioner but wanted to do even more. So Deanie searched for a vehicle on eBay and used her personal savings to purchase her first mobile medical unit.
When Hurricane Ian hit, Deanie launched into action for her community. She organized with the local 7-11 to provide food every day for people needing a meal after the hurricane. She collected clothing and other donations to pass out at daily distribution events she hosted. She checked on peers at the Emergency Operations Center in Lee County, contacted elderly patients to make sure they were safe and connected us with other partners who might be in need.
As I watched Deanie in action and learned about everything she’s done for her community, it became clear to me that Deanie is a community builder, an advocate, a friend to everyone and an inspiration.
I also met Pastor William Glover of Mount Hermon Church, who shared even more about Deanie’s impact. He told me how Deanie would come to his church services and set up the clinic so people could access health services while they were there. And, bit by bit, the clinic became a sensation. The community trusted her as Deanie delivered on everything she promised. The church now hosts health fairs and health education events alongside Deanie and other partners she helped bring on board.
After our visit, Deanie submitted an application to Americares for emergency funding – which we quickly reviewed and approved. The funds will allow her to hire and pay surge staff so her existing team can recover from their personal losses from the hurricane. This means that Premier Mobile Health Services can provide continuing care at both of their mobile clinics and the walk-in clinic. In one of the hardest hit areas in Florida, this clinic is able to meet patients where they’re at when they need it most.
Americares Response to Hurricane Ian
An Americares team deployed to southwest Florida and met with partner organizations, meeting the local leaders at these critical health centers. Within four weeks of the disaster, Americares had provided support to a dozen organizations meeting survivors health needs, including shipments of relief supplies and emergency funding to help clinics make rapid repairs, support surge staffing, replace damaged equipment and meet other urgent needs.