Sweet Beginnings with Direct Relief

Ann Grossman, from the United States, is working with a team of #GSKVolunteers at Direct Relief International to enhance the Patient Assistance Program , in Santa Barbara, CA. Follow along on Twitter using #GSKVolunteers.

Direct Relief’s mission: “Improve the lives and health of people affected by poverty, disaster, and civil unrest.”

09Aug2013- A month has passed in beautiful Santa Barbara/Goleta California. I consider myself very lucky indeed for having this PULSE assignment. Yet, it is not because of the location, which is gorgeous; it is because of the people I have met at Direct Relief. Every single person I have met so far has something “extra” about them. They are all so unbelievably kind, generous and grateful. I think it is because such a mission would attract such people. I have had the opportunity to attend presentations from Partners of Direct Relief who are providing updates about their programs. They are inspiring. Kids are surviving pneumonia, Babies are being born alive and well, Fistulas are being repaired, Doctors are being trained in Haiti, Hospitals are getting the items they need, Hurricane and Tornado relief is being received, Communities are getting back on their feet, and Patients have the medications they need. All because this small organization in Santa Barbara is able to manage the logistics of obtaining and distributing charitable donations of Pharmaceutical Companies and Medical Supplies to those in need. It sounds so simple. But this is huge! This is done on an urgent and ongoing basis around the world. They have received and distributed over $1,284,042,387 value (wholesale) to places in need. Check out their incredible mapping technology! http://maps.directrelief.org/aidmap/. Direct Relief provides ongoing support to the Safety Net with programs in the US. One is Safety Net Support in which donated Pharmaceuticals & supplies are “offered” on a monthly basis to over 1,000 clinics in the Safety Net. The other, the Replenishment Program is a Prescription Access Program with participation of Multiple Pharmaceutical Companies. I have been reading and hearing about how the safety net providers access so many different programs to make sure their patients get the medications they need. I am working on a white paper about the Direct Relief Replenishment Program with objective to provide more exposure and increase participation by Pharmaceutical Companies. A totally new endeavor for this CRA.
There 2 other Pulse Volunteers here! Chee Yung and Hyacinth are providing their expertise to Direct Relief in Goleta! We have celebrated the 4th of July and Fiesta. It’s fun to exchange GSK stories and find out about their cultures. We are expecting Max to arrive this month from Belgium. Jane and Harshna are PULSE Volunteers working with Direct Relief in Kenya. I think there is more. Direct Relief and GSK is a sweet combination! As shown by the chocolate bar I presented to them on my arrival!
Stay Tuned for the next update and until then a little fun fact about Direct Relief:
Direct Relief is the sole nonprofit organization licensed as a pharmacy in all 50 U.S. states and approved by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy as a Verified Accredited Wholesale Distributor.


  1. I had the pleasure of meeting with some of the Direct Relief personnel in Goleta before going to Kenya. You are right, Ann, they are wonderful. They welcomed me and made me feel like I was a part of their team. Keep up the good work!

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