A month after being ravaged by hurricanes Irma and Maria, Puerto Rico is still struggling to meet such basic needs like obtaining much needed medical supplies, clean drinking water, and restoring power to those in rural areas of the islands. That’s where Danielle Butin (BS Occupational Therapy, ‘85) and the Afya Foundation come in.
Butin founded Afya in 2007 to provide an environmentally responsible solution to the dire shortage of healthcare supplies in underserved communities globally. Afya does this by collecting and delivering critically needed surplus medical supplies, hospital equipment, and humanitarian provisions for acute and ongoing health crises worldwide. In 2014, the New York State Senate recognized Butin as a Woman of Distinction for her role in using local medical resources and volunteers to promote global health.
Most recently during the hurricane crises in Puerto Rico, the Afya Foundation collaborated with relief organization Vieques Love, the Greater New York Hospital Association, and local NY area pharmacies and doctors to transport essential medicines and medical supplies including antibiotics, vaccines, and asthma and diabetes drugs to the small islands of Vieques and Culebra, which are part of Puerto Rico. Afya also delivered over 3,000 vials of insulin to be distributed by the Adult Diabetic Association of Puerto Rico. Volunteers on the ground in both New York and Puerto Rico prepared the donations and distributed them to those in need. “We have years of experience responding to crises worldwide and can help here, along with our significant product donor network, who are eager to help in any way possible. We are doing what we do well–responding thoughtfully to urgent needs by delivering practical solutions and products,” said Butin.
Yesterday, we traveled to Loíza, a small town on the northeastern coast of Puerto Rico. With the UJA-Federation of New…
Butin’s foundation has also provided relief to the Houston, Texas area after Hurricane Harvey, delivering 365,000 pounds of medical supplies thanks to funds donated from local associations and individual donors. In the past, the Afya Foundation has worked extensively in Haiti during the recovery from the massive earthquake the country suffered in 2010, as well as provided aid and supplies during other worldwide natural disasters.
Butin currently serves as the Executive Director of the foundation, and is also an adjunct faculty member at Columbia University, where she earned her Masters in Public Health.
To learn more about the Afya Foundation’s work or to make a donation or volunteer, please visit http://www.afyafoundation.org/.