Classmates seeking support for IUSM alum infected with Ebola, fight against disease in Liberia

Aug. 14, 2014

Two graduates of the IUSM Class of 2009 recently launched a campaign to send messages of support to the family of Kent Brantly, M.D., one of two U.S. citizens infected with Ebola.

Dr. Brantly, 33, who contracted the virus while working for the Christian aid group Samaritan's Purse, is being treated at a special isolation unit at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga.

Kent Brantly and family

Kent Brantly, M.D., a graduate of the IUSM Class of 2009; his wife, Amber; and their children.

"Fellow students may know Dr. Kent Brantly as a humble, kind, passionate colleague, focused on caring for the poor. Professors and staff may remember Kent as a focused learner with clear career goals for service," Jordan C. Huskins, M.D., and Meghan L. Miller, M.D., IUSM '09, wrote in a recent letter to the IUSM community. "Some may have come to know him through the events of the past week surrounding his battle with the Ebola virus. For all of us, Kent is a friend, colleague and fellow alumnus of the IU School of Medicine.

"As the international community focuses on Kent's battle with the Ebola virus, we strive to lead a more local voice of support for him; his wife, Amber; and children, even as we remember individuals in Liberia and other parts of West Africa affected by this horrible disease. As a token of our well wishes and prayers, please join me and others from the IU School of Medicine community in supporting Kent, Amber and their children through cards, letters and notes of encouragement.

"Though we appreciate that Kent may not be able to touch our mail personally for a while, we anticipate that Amber and other family members will be able to share this flood of support with him in Atlanta."

The delivery of these notes to the Brantlys will be coordinated by Jay L. Hess, M.D., Ph.D., dean of the IU School of Medicine and vice president for university clinical affairs, and the IUSM Alumni Relations Office.

Individuals wishing to contribute to the campaign may direct cards, letters or words of encouragement before Friday, Aug. 15, to IU School of Medicine Dean's Office, c/o Karin Davis, Fairbanks Hall, 340 W. 10th St., Suite 6200, Indianapolis, IN 46202.

Personal notes may also be sent by Aug. 15 to the IU School of Medicine at iusmalum@iu.edu.

Mugele and Brisbane

In addition, IUSM community members interested in supporting the ongoing fight against Ebola in Africa may also wish to contribute to a campaign in support of the Memorial Medical Center, a large hospital in Monrovia, Liberia.

IUSM faculty Joshua Mugele, M.D., left, with Sam Brisbane, emergency director for the JFK Memorial Medical Center in Monrovia, Liberia, who died from Ebola in July.

The Dr. Sam Brisbane Fund for Support of JFK Memorial Medical Center was established to raise funds to provide support for disaster risk reduction and response efforts at the medical center. Dr. Brisbane, director of the emergency department at the medical center and one of the longest-serving doctors in Liberia, died from Ebola in July.

Joshua Mugele, M.D., assistant professor of clinical emergency medicine at the IU School of Medicine and a friend of Dr. Brisbane, is the lead individual on a collaboration project between the IU schools of medicine and nursing, as well as the MESH Coalition, to support the provision of technical guidance around the JFK Memorial Medical Center’s disaster risk reduction and emergency response planning.

Dr. Mugele, who recently returned to Indiana from the center, said the funds raised will be used to support this partnership as well as immediate disaster response needs to fight the ongoing outbreak of Ebola, including the procurement and delivery of needed personal protective equipment such as gloves and face masks.

Support will also be provided to the University of Liberia Dogliotti School of Medicine, a partner of IU and JFK Memorial Hospital on the project.

To contribute to the campaign, visit the Dr. Sam Brisbane Fund website.

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