November 2, 2012

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UUPers step up in aftermath of Hurricane Sandy

uupdate 11-2-12

UUP members at several SUNY campuses are helping their neighbors and colleagues in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

For two days, Stony Brook University Hospital took in 31 patients who were transferred from neighboring hospitals because of the storm. Nineteen came from Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson, the other 12 from Eastern Long Island Hospital in Greenport.

“Many of our UUP members worked extra shifts and spent the night on air mattresses in break rooms or their work stations,” said Stony Brook HSC Chapter President Carol Gizzi.

Members involved in direct patient care—physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and clinical nursing staff—weren’t the only ones to pitch in. Gizzi said UUPers who work as pharmacists, radiologists, social workers, respiratory care technicians, and IT and nutrition staff “are necessary to keep essential services up and running to provide the services necessary for complete patient care.”

SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn also took in patients, making room for five patients on ventilators who were evacuated from Promenade Health Care Center in Rockaway.

At SUNY Maritime in the Bronx, UUP members are assisting FEMA workers, who are using the college’s training ship—Empire State VI— as a staging area for disaster relief.

SUNY campuses at New Paltz and Old Westbury served as shelters for those displaced by the storm. Four UUPers worked at the New Paltz shelter, including psychology professor James Halpern, who worked with graduate interns to provide mental health support at the shelter. The shelter has since closed, but Halpern says their work is not done.

“We expect to continue to work with Red Cross, the Office of Mental Health and the Office of Emergency Management to train volunteers and others who will be participating in what is likely to be a long period of recovery in New York City,” he said.

Anyone wishing to donate to the NYSUT Disaster Relief Fund should go to

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