We were already working with Medline to collect unused or recently expired items from hospitals to be used in underserved countries through one of our healthcare clinics. That program has a big impact on its own. The World Health Organization reports of the waste from healthcare that exists, 85 percent is non-hazardous.
Then came November 2016, when I joined a call with Medline regarding potential engagement opportunities with Project C.U.R.E., and at the time, we were merely exploring the idea of having one or two Medline employees travel on C.U.R.E. Clinics to experience Medline and Project C.U.R.E.’s global impact. That first conversation quickly blossomed into a program that would engage Medline employees from across the U.S. in delivering some of those collected supplies for hospitals to help people in an underserved community lead healthier lives.
The growth in our relationship goes back even further to 2014. That’s when Medline initially became a procurement partner by immediately jumping in to contribute targeted supplies to the Ebola crisis in West Africa. We found that Medline continued to ask the question, “What else can we do?” Medline has shown to be willing to push the boundaries of the relationship and explore new ways to partner doing what we both do best — improve healthcare.
What made this new corporate social responsibility program with Medline so poignant was how well the vision of the service trip aligned with Medline’s mission of improving the health of healthcare. Medline was able to utilize a wide breadth of resources to engage employees in El Crucero, a small community in Nicaragua. Packing Kits for Kids at Medline’s headquarters with their supplies gave so many more of their employees the opportunity to take part in delivering healthcare to rural Nicaraguans.
Getting the Team to Buy In
The Medline team showed great commitment from the start. They delved into the mental and physical preparation for the trip and fully gave themselves to the experience. On the first day of service, and often a time of chaos, the reality of what they came to do and the reality of the people they were coming to serve hit home — motivating everyone even more. The team was working outside their comfort zones. They energetically set up, practiced and refined their presentations, evolving quickly to handle the demands of the day.
By the second day everyone made the changes necessary to improve upon our workshops. They also made connections with what they were doing in Nicaragua and how it applies to their daily lives and work. They pondered what they could do to create an even greater impact. These Medline employees were always forward thinking.
True Engagement Leads to Stronger Commitments
Making these connections is ultimately what will make our world a better place. It is through human connections, experiences and understanding that we can commit to improving the lives of everyone everywhere. Participating in a trip like this demonstrates that we all have the power and opportunity to make a difference every day. I know everyone that participated is wondering, “What’s next?” Project C.U.R.E. is thinking the same.
It was remarkable to engage Medline and witness the sense of pride in the impact they had on the Nicaraguan people. We are grateful to Medline for playing such a large role through their contributions in delivering health and hope to the world.
Look outside your walls. Find a partner. Take everyone’s ideas and expand on them. Finally, use your greatest assets – your employees – to engage. Working together can deliver incredible outcomes that sometimes you don’t even plan for, but can make a lasting impact on someone else’s community.