A Medical Match


Jim Colvin saw a perfect match when visiting Jamaican hospitals for the first time in November 2013. “I had been to Haiti, so I was prepared for anything,” says Jim, whose job at medical equipment manufacturer Welch Allyn includes handling global donation requests. “But Jamaica has a different type of need. While Haiti is still struggling with infrastructure and relies more on remote clinics, the hospitals I visited in Jamaica have brick and mortar and extremely dedicated staff….The medical personnel are educated and able to help, but they can’t because they lack medical equipment of all types.”

That’s where the perfect match comes in. Jamaica had specific equipment needs. Welch Allyn, a New York-based company with nearly 2,600 employees manufactures medical diagnostic equipment to assess, diagnose, treat, and manage various illnesses. Welch Allyn also has a legacy of giving back to its community and the world at large. Jim quickly made the connection, seeing ways the company could make a huge difference in Jamaica.

“The passion exhibited everywhere made it clear that I had to return as soon as possible with some equipment,” Jim says.”As Jamaican Dr. Maurice Sloley put it so eloquently: ‘We have the people. We have the knowledge. We just need the equipment. It frustrates the doctors and nurses when they know what to do, but they don’t have what they need. Even the simplest of instruments that [U.S. medical personnel] take for granted are considered a luxury here.’”

Since Jim’s first trip to Jamaica in November 2013, Welch Allyn has donated more than $75,000 worth of equipment and Jim has returned two more times. “When I returned in March 2014, I was greeted with smiles and open arms, and that would’ve been the case regardless of how little or how much equipment I brought,” he says. “I was humbled when one of the nurses said to me, ‘No one ever comes back. People visit, ask us what we need, they say they’ll see what they can do, but we never see or hear from them again. But you came back.’”

And that, Jim says is the beauty of working with the Issa Trust Foundation and why Welch Allyn plans to continue donating equipment in 2015 and beyond. “Each trip is another opportunity to increase the level of care at each hospital,” Jim says, noting that Foundation’s strong relationships with the Jamaican medical personnel make it easy for him to be accepted and to get a clear picture of how to best help. “Having pride in providing aid and comfort is a great virtue,” Jim says. “Being given the means by which to deliver the aid and comfort is priceless.”