Martinsburg VA Medical Center
Martinsburg Employees Deploy to North Carolina
Four Martinsburg VA Medical Center (VAMC) employees deployed to North Carolina as part of the Disaster Emergency Medical Personnel System (DEMPS) program, which was activated to assist with Hurricane Florence relief efforts.
DEMPS is the Veterans Health Administration’s (VA) main deployment program for clinical and non-clinical staff for an emergency or disaster. The program may be used for an internal VA mission, as well as supporting a mission after a Presidential Disaster Declaration.
We know that Hurricane Florence has devastated the Carolina’s, and in some instances made it difficult for VA clinics to open under normal conditions. When a disaster strikes, though, it is important to remember that staff members of those VA clinics have been affected as well, many of them losing their homes or unable to come into work. That is where the DEMPS personnel come into the picture.
Gloria Chemaly, M.D., primary care physician at the Martinsburg VAMC, deployed to the Fayetteville VA Health Care Center, where she is assisting in seeing Veteran patients as they continue to provide high quality medical care to the area’s Veterans.
“This is my first deployment and I’m eager to be here to support the employees and Veterans in Fayetteville,” said Chemaly. “VA is fortunate to have the DEMPS program where employees can volunteer to go to hard-hit areas where we can continue making a difference in the lives of Veterans and give the employees much needed time to tend to their personal losses.”
The other three personnel deployed were Lisa Longley, RN; Rob Rinker, RN and Michelle Micky Martin who is a medical support assistant. They are working out of the Durham VA Medical Center. Longley is working as part of the clinical command team. Rinker is part of an outreach group going to shelters with social workers to follow up with high-risk Veterans, and Martin is responsible for time-keeping for all DEMPS personnel who are assisting in the operation.
“I am extremely proud of these employees who volunteered to assist other VA clinics in need,” said Timothy J. Cooke, medical center director. “Team Martinsburg will always answer the call and help our sister VA facilities when there is a need.”
To date, VA has deployed nearly 75 people from around the country to support the Hurricane Florence relief and recovery efforts.