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Dome - Recycling Globally

Dome November 2012

Recycling Globally

Date: November 16, 2012


Clinical attire in styles and colors no longer allowed were among the hundreds of scrubs that poured in during a donation drive led by nurses Kristi Bode and Niki Giddings last spring.
Clinical attire in styles and colors no longer allowed were among the hundreds of scrubs that poured in during a donation drive led by nurses Kristi Bode and Niki Giddings last spring.

When Kristi Bode and Niki Giddings launched a drive last spring to collect scrubs for medical workers in developing countries, they never imagined that more than 1,000 tops and bottoms would pour in from across the East Baltimore campus. Credit their success to a happy conjunction of circumstances: The adoption of a new, color-specific dress code at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, a wave of spring cleaning prior to the move to the new patient care building and a flourishing relationship with Global Links, a Pittsburgh-based medical relief agency that collects and distributes equipment and supplies to needy communities around the world.

Although the scrubs drive started slowly, a plasma screen campaign coupled with move preparations generated a flood of contributions. “Literally, bags and bags and bags of scrubs came in,” says Bode, who works with Giddings on the neurosciences critical care unit.

Of all the medical institutions participating in the ongoing scrubs drive, launched last February, Hopkins Hospital has so far delivered the biggest haul, says Hayley Brugos, medical outreach manager at Global Links. “We weighed the scrubs and they totaled 810 pounds!”

Since 2008, Johns Hopkins Medicine has contributed thousands of gently used items to the relief agency, including wheelchairs, crutches, IV poles, exam tables, medical supplies and mattresses. As larger health care systems increasingly required workers to wear scrubs bearing institutional logos, Global Links staff saw an opportunity to expand the list to include apparel, Brugos says.

After hearing about the scrubs drive from colleagues on the Johns Hopkins Medicine Green Team, Bode and Giddings put out a request to nursing units for clinical attire with no holes, tears, stains or embroidered names. Along with hundreds of suitable tops and bottoms, the two nurses also received vintage items, such as skirts, dresses, aprons, caps and a fair amount of scrubs with garish colors and puffy sleeves, Bode says. “It was hilarious.”

Now that their mountainous collection has arrived at Global Links, Bode and Giddings are taking a break from the drive. “We’d like to start back up in six months or so, so that that our new employees or people who didn’t get around to it in the first time can donate their old scrubs,” Bode says.

—Stephanie Shapiro

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