Extraordinary People: InterVol providing critical medical supplies around the world

Extraordinary People

For more than 25 years, one local doctor has made it his mission to provide critical medical supplies around the world. 

Dr. Ralph Pennino founded InterVol, a non-profit humanitarian relief organization, after a visit to a hospital in Siberia. While traveling, he quickly realized that the supplies doctors around the world need, are thrown out in the United States on a daily basis. 

Now, he’s thanking the local community for helping it grow. 

“The reason it isn’t recycled, presently, in the hospitals, is because the labor involved to take all that sort of stuff, re-process it, so forth, and database it, inventory it, would cost more than the supplies itself,” Dr. Pennino said. 

Until Dr. Pennino founded InterVol, perfectly good supplies and equipment were going to waste. 

“It has just grown and grown and grown,” Dr. Pennino said. “It was a grassroots effort started at Rochester General Hospital, getting the operating room staff involved because that’s where I knew the most and that’s what generates the most supplies involved, and then we grew to a community effort with all the hospitals in the community. Now we’ll actually go out into a regional effort.”

The needed medical supplies are collected, sorted by InterVol volunteers, and shipped all over the world. InterVol medical teams also travel to help areas in need, bringing equipment with them. 

Twenty eight years later, InterVol continues to expand. 

“It’s very rewarding but it’s a community thing,” Dr. Pennino said. “It’s nice as the leader of the organization that I’m getting a lot of credit, but I can’t stress enough that this is a community of not only non-medical people but also medical people, the doctors and nurses involved in this thing. I couldn’t do this without them.”

InterVol shipped roughly 10,000 boxes to eight different countries, and they look forward to continuing to grow their operations in 2018.

Click here if you would like to volunteer or donate medical supplies and equipment to InterVol.

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