Meduni USMI is an international nonprofit organization based in North Bethesda whose mission is to provide healthcare assistance and support to individuals and communities in need, with a predominant focus on Armenia. When the COVID-19 health crisis hit home, Meduni USMI realized the work it was doing internationally might be useful in its own community.
"After the pandemic struck,” said Meduni Executive Director Vaughn Martirosyan, its board felt it “needed to give back to our State because we had a huge need.” To help address concerns about capacity for COVID-19 patients at local hospitals, it has donated hospital beds, over-bed tables, ventilators incorporated into anesthesia machines, respirators and personal protective equipment (PPE), including bed covers, masks and gloves. So far, Meduni has donated more than $40,000 of materials. According to Emergency Preparedness Specialist Netta Squires of the Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, Meduni offered to donate valuable durable medical equipment very early in the health crisis--before the County itself was set up to receive such donations. The County coordinated with Meduni to donate the initial batch of equipment directly to area hospitals, including Holy Cross. “It might sound easy to donate a ventilator,” said Ms. Squires, “but it is not.” Mr. Martirosyan drove to New Jersey to oversee the loading and shipping of the ventilators. “This equipment is very expensive, and it has been essential to the County and the hospitals to help care for their patients," said Ms. Squires. "We thank them very, very much.” Meduni has continued dropping off PPE to the County distribution site whenever it is able to acquire more.