Twenty-six health care professionals from six GNYHA member hospitals and health systems will fly to Puerto Rico today to provide mental health services to people impacted by the recent earthquakes and aftershocks, which continue to affect Ponce and nearby areas on the island’s southern coast. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and GNYHA had called on mental health professionals to volunteer for service to help an already beleaguered population recover from this latest challenge.

Volunteers from Catholic Health Services of Long Island, Medisys Health Network, Montefiore Health System, Mount Sinai Health, NewYork-Presbyterian, and Northwell Health will return on February 10. Jet Blue Airlines donated all airfare in a show of support for our deployment. Puerto Rico specifically requested mental health professionals who could staff the island’s crisis telephone line and help with crisis counseling and mental health canvassing at municipal government basecamps in Guyanilla, Guanica, and Ponce.

GNYHA has worked closely with the Governor’s office and the New York State Department of Health on this undertaking, and GNYHA President Kenneth E. Raske joined Governor Cuomo at a press conference yesterday to discuss the deployment.