Northwell Health Sends 120 Volunteers to Texas for Harvey Recovery

NEW HYDE PARK, NY – In the wake of the devastation that Hurricane Harvey inflicted upon the Houston area, the need for medical care has risen to crisis levels for those impacted by the flooding and who rely on their healthcare providers to manage existing chronic conditions. In response, Northwell Health has connected with its counterparts at the Houston–based MD Anderson Cancer Center to offer assistance to match the hospital‘s specific needs. Within 24 hours after requesting help from its clinicians, Northwell has enrolled more than 600 employees interested in volunteering. Beginning Monday, September 4th, the first Northwell team of 40 will be deployed to Houston.

“Many of their [MD Anderson’s] employees are unable to commute to work because of the flooding,” said Michael J. Dowling, Northwell Health’s president and CEO. “Many others have been working non-stop for nearly a week to care for patients. Their staff requires relief so they can attend to their personal needs in the aftermath of this devastating storm. They reached out to us because we are one of the largest cancer providers in New York and have, based on an assessment of needs, the skill level of employees who could help. We put a call out to Northwell Health team members with oncology credentials and to nurses system-wide. The response, as we expected, has been overwhelming.”


Mr. Dowling explained that Northwell understands the need in Houston all too well. Its experience has included coordinated emergency response locally – for incidents such as Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Irene – and nationally through sending teams into affected areas such as New Orleans, following Hurricane Katrina.


“We know the exhaustion factor, the physical and emotional toll these catastrophic events have on patients, caregivers, family members and the public at large. I thank those volunteers who have responded to this call to action, and every team member who has expressed a desire to help those who are suffering.”


Northwell is sending 120 clinicians in total, deploying teams of 40 (one team per week who will relieve the prior team) over a three week period. The situation will continue to be monitored and can be adjusted based on need and the fluidity of the situation.


After explaining that she and a team of nurses would be deploying on Monday, Karen Gleason, RN, AVP, Cancer Service Line, Northwell Health said: “The nurses at Northwell are truly exceptional. Compassion is what we do…we take care of each other. It is an honor for us to be helping the staff at MD Anderson.”


Given the storm’s impact on the ability to travel around the Houston area, the staffing challenges posed to area hospitals are significant. Volunteers included physicians, oncology nurses, technicians and personnel.


About Northwell Health


Northwell Health is New York State’s largest health care provider and private employer, with 22 hospitals, over 550 outpatient facilities and nearly 15,000 affiliated physicians. We care for more than two million people annually in the New York metro area and beyond, thanks to philanthropic support from our communities. Our 62,000 employees – 15,000+ nurses and 3,900 employed doctors, including members of Northwell Health Physician Partners – are working to change health care for the better. We’re making breakthroughs in medicine at the Feinstein Institute. We're training the next generation of medical professionals at the visionary Zucker School of Medicine and the Hofstra Northwell School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies. For information on our more than 100 medical specialties, visit