In 2010, a devastating earthquake in Haiti gave rise to Team Rubicon; today, the veteran-led disaster response nonprofit is expanding its international operations and offerings.
Yesterday, the first North American nongovernmental organization to be verified as a World Health Organization EMT Type-1 Mobile Team—and the 18th WHO Emergency Medical Team in the world—announced it is expanding its international capabilities in order to assist with ever-increasing humanitarian needs. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 274 million people will need humanitarian assistance and protection in 2022, up from a many-decades high of 235 million people one year ago.
“Team Rubicon is investing to serve more vulnerable communities worldwide. The recent rapid increase in frequency and intensity of disasters has exacerbated the disproportionate impacts on vulnerable populations around the world,” said Art delaCruz, CEO of Team Rubicon.
To better serve those people and populations, Team Rubicon has begun increasing team capacity, expanding service partnerships, and providing additional programs such as international medical support and training, water sanitation and hygiene (WASH), and crisis innovation across the globe.
The expansion comes in part thanks to the support of Team Rubicon partners Under Armour and 1P.org who have collectively committed more than $3.5 million. Thanks to the generous donations, Team Rubicon and Greyshirts will deploy to serve vulnerable populations across the globe. They will be fitted in Under Armour, the official uniform of the organization.
While Team Rubicon has continued to serve in the face of humanitarian crises and natural disasters across the world—including the 2019 dual cyclones in Mozambique; infectious disease outbreaks such as dengue fever in the Marshall Islands in 2020 and COVID-19 in Mongolia in 2021; and the Syrian Refugee crisis in 2016 and the Ukraine war in 2022—its primary focus has largely been domestic. Over the past 12 years, Team Rubicon has responded to everything from Hurricane Harvey to Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas to the devastating tornadoes and flooding in Kentucky in 2021 and 2022. In 2017 it also launched its Rebuild program. More recently, Team Rubicon and its volunteers—known as Greyshirts—have also been providing wildfire mitigation services.
Internationally, as a WHO EMT Type 1 Mobile unit, Team Rubicon deploys skilled medical providers trained in emergency and trauma care, maternal and pediatric health, primary care, and knowledge of endemic diseases like in Ukraine and other regions.
Since March, Team Rubicon has worked in coordination with WHO and the Ukrainian Ministry of Health to support medical care for the most vulnerable populations in Western Ukraine, and providing medical training to ensure local personnel have the skills needed to respond effectively and efficiently to crises. In August 2022, Team Rubicon is expanding its mission and medical capacity within the Ukrainian healthcare system to reduce potentially preventable morbidity and mortality, alleviate suffering, and maintain human dignity during this time of war. Training topics include blood transfusion; first aid; field trauma and blast injuries; triage and shock management; point of care ultrasound and treatment of chemical exposures.
Most recently, Team Rubicon provided support in Central America, assisting with medical evacuation training in Honduras in June 2022. In Guatemala, the team supported primary healthcare needs, serving over 4,700 patients from May to August 2022.