Stronger Together: Teaming Up for Medical Service Abroad

By Francesca Olivier | August 8, 2017

A few years ago my husband and I visited Mariposa Grove in Yosemite National Park. In this grove sits a collection of giant sequoia trees. Sequoias are ancient trees – some are over 3,500 years old and they are enormous.  Their trunks can grow as wide as a three lane highway and they stand as tall as a jet plane on its nose.

To maintain such a stature you would think that sequoias’ roots run as deep as the highest branch is tall. But that isn’t the case at all.  In fact, their roots are quite shallow and run only six to ten feet deep.  Instead of reaching down, deep into the earth beneath them, sequoias extend their roots to the other trees around them, sometimes hundreds of feet away. Where their roots meet those of another tree, they do something I find quite extraordinary – they fuse together.  This allows them to share resources and affords them the strength and balance they need as the largest living things on the planet. In other words, by connecting with those around them, they can stand taller and stronger.

Our corporate social responsibility efforts at Medline take a page from the giant sequoias.  We connect with those around us who share our vision, and pool our resources so that we can all stand taller and stronger.

This August, a group of Medline employees will travel to El Crucero in Nicaragua on our first medical service trip. In this town about an hour’s drive from the capital city of Managua, 16 employees will provide health education on topics like hand hygiene, first aid, nutrition and dental hygiene. We will also conduct eye exams and provide reading glasses. These are a crucial need in a country where many people earn a living by sewing garments or working in Nicaragua’s rich agricultural economy.At Medline, we are in the business ofgiving people the tools they need to live healthier lives and to help others do the same. For the past three years we’ve partnered with Project C.U.R.E., a leading humanitarian relief organization that delivers customized, donated medical supplies, equipment and related program services to resource-limited communities across the globe. Through this collaboration with Project C.U.R.E.we can pool our expertise, skills and experience to extend our reach to a community that doesn’t have the same health care that we have in the United States.

This map displays where Medline employees are traveling from to work together in Nicaragua on the company’s first medical service trip.

With this inaugural trip, we are leveraging our greatest asset: our employees. We received an outpouring of applications from colleagues around the country who wanted to participate; in the end we could only accept fewer than 1 out of 10 who applied. This group of employees represents not only a variety of roles and functions across the country, but Medline’s relentless commitment to service and integrity. In the coming days and weeks on Facebook and Twitter we’ll be sharing more about our Medline team’s travels to Nicaragua, their own reasons for going, and their experiences in Nicaragua.

Categories: Expert Views, Social Responsibility

Francesca Olivier

Vice President of Global Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG)

Francesca Olivier leads Medline’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategy. She was named a Top 100 Corporate Social Responsibility Influence Leader, and has more than 15 years of experience developing social and environmental programs in the nonprofit, government and corporate sectors. In that time, she has gained experience in areas such
as healthcare sustainability, environmental justice and disaster relief. She earned a Master of Science in Environmental Management and Sustainability from the Illinois Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Loyola University, New Orleans.

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