State, Business Community and Non-Profits Launch Joint Effort to Fight Ebola Virus

First donations from life sciences companies shipped to West Africa

BALTIMORE, MD (February 5, 2015) – The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) and its BioMaryland Center have formed a unique partnership with sister State agencies, the life sciences community and several non-profit organizations to coordinate the collection of much-needed medical equipment, supplies and monetary donations to help in the fight against the Ebola virus in West Africa. Through the newly created Stop Ebola website, potential donors can see a list of the most critical items needed in the hardest hit areas of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. Cash donations are also being accepted through the website by a number of charities. The key partner organizations include the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA); the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives (GOCI); International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC); as well as LIFT, a not-for-profit logistics provider.

“Maryland is on the front lines of fighting the Ebola virus, from early clinical trials at the National Institutes of Health to a number of Maryland companies developing vaccines,” said DBED Secretary Mike Gill. “This effort, bringing together government, non-profits and the private sector, is another way that we can give health care workers in West Africa the tools and resources that are so critically needed to help save lives.”

Earlier this year, more than $60,000 in medical supplies from three companies have been donated and shipped to West Africa through LIFT, which uses general aviation aircraft, heavy jets, helicopters, small and large vessels and ground transportation to bring people and cargo to disaster sites worldwide. Working with LIFT to store and transport the donations is the American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN), Airlink and The Terminal Corp. of Baltimore.

Among the company donors is the University of Maryland Baltimore, through its SOLAR surplus laboratory supplies program, donated 16 boxes of hypodermic syringes, and Creatv Microtech, a Potomac-based company focused on microfabrication and biodetection, donated more than 300 Personal Protective Equipment coveralls. In addition, Cera Products, a South Carolina-based company which was founded in Maryland and uses technology licensed from Johns Hopkins, donated 229 cases of CeraORS® 75, a rice-based oral rehydration solution (ORS). ORS is critical to fighting the virus as many who contract the disease die of dehydration and the ORS gives their bodies a chance to fight it.  Cera Product’s donation was funded in part by the Child Health Foundation of Maryland.

“We are honored to be a part of the important efforts that the State of Maryland and its partners are doing to help the people of West Africa,” said Charlene Riikonen, President of Cera Products. “We do hope other companies and organizations, as well as individuals, will join in to help.”

The coordinated effort began when DBED’s Director of General Services Tim LaValle was looking into ways that the Department could contribute to the fight against Ebola. LaValle contacted MEMA, which has established a Private Sector Integration Program (PSIP) to incorporate the business community into the emergency management framework. MEMA recommended that DBED contact LIFT to determine what medical equipment and supplies were needed and IOCC to store the supplies until LIFT and its partners could transport them to West Africa. DBED and the BioMaryland Center reached out to Maryland’s life sciences community for any equipment or supplies they could donate, and GOCI worked to encourage donations to charitable organizations.

“I would like to recognize DBED’s Tim LaValle for originating the idea that led to this collaborative Maryland public-private effort to help contain the Ebola epidemic in West Africa,” said Secretary Gill. “Fueled by an idea from one employee, this humanitarian effort is yet another terrific example of how the state can work with our private sector partners to make a difference.”

ABOUT DBED
The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development stimulates private investment and creates jobs by attracting new businesses, encouraging the expansion and retention of existing companies, and providing workforce training and financial assistance to Maryland companies. The Department promotes the State’s many economic advantages and markets local products and services at home and abroad to spur economic development and international investment, trade and tourism. For more information, visit www.ChooseMaryland.org.

ABOUT BIOMARYLAND CENTER
The BioMaryland Center, an office within Maryland’s Department of Business and Economic Development, connects life sciences companies, academic and federal researchers with each other and with potential capital sources, partners, clients, and other resources. Center staff provide information regarding funding and other resources, business plan feedback, access to market research, advocacy, and other industry support. The BioMaryland Center also promotes the state’s life sciences industry domestically and abroad. For more information regarding the Center and the Biotechnology Development awards program, visit www.Bio.Maryland.gov.

ABOUT MEMA
The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is the agency of State government with primary responsibility and authority for emergency preparedness policy, and for coordinating hazard mitigation, incident response, and disaster recovery. This includes supporting local governments as requested, and coordinating assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other federal partners. MEMA is consistently improving Maryland’s emergency preparedness by augmenting the efforts and skills of our partners and providing resources and tools that residents, communities, and stakeholders need to better prepare for, mitigate against, respond to, and recover from disasters. By achieving this, MEMA strives to be “A Center for Preparedness Excellence.”​ Find out more about MEMA at http://mema.maryland.gov.

ABOUT GOCI
The Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives (GOCI) coordinates community and volunteer service activities in Maryland, develops and coordinates the Governor’s policy agenda affecting community programs and initiatives, and advises the Governor on policies to enhance and improve the delivery of community and volunteer services. GOCI houses the Governor’s seven ethnic commissions, Governor’s Grant’s Office, the Office of Service and Volunteerism, Volunteer Maryland, the African American History and Culture Commission, and the Banneker-Douglas Museum. For more information please visit: community.maryland.gov

ABOUT INTERNATIONAL ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN CHARITIES:  IOCC is the official humanitarian aid agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America. Since its inception in 1992, IOCC has delivered nearly $500 million in relief and development programs to families and communities in more than 50 countries. IOCC is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and agencies engaged in development, humanitarian assistance and advocacy, and a member of InterAction, the largest alliance of U.S.–based secular and faith-based organizations working to improve the lives of the world’s most poor and vulnerable populations. To learn more about IOCC, visit www.iocc.org

MEDIA CONTACT:
Karen Glenn Hood
Director, Media Relations and Public Affairs
Maryland Department of Business & Economic Development
401 E. Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD 21202
O 410-767-6318 | C 443-463-8129 | karen.glennhood@Maryland.gov