The University of Louisville and community partners are teaming up to send much-needed medical and other supplies to aid citizens suffering in the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

UofL Interim President Lori Gonzalez and local officials gathered Friday to announce the effort through Supplies Overseas (SOS), an organization that works with area hospitals and healthcare providers to collect gently/unused medical supplies and send them to those in need. UofL surgeon Gordon Tobin, a founding board member of SOS, also participated in the announcement.

Former ambassador to the Slovak Republic Tod Sedgwick said his contacts in Ukraine stressed the need for medical supplies. The local organization has collected almost 20 pallets of supplies – worth more than $100,000 — including bandages, defibrillators, and anesthesia and orthopedic supplies, said SOS president Denise Sears. The organization also is sending personal protective equipment in response to Covid-19 concerns in the region.

SOS has worked with local philanthropist Christina Lee Brown to secure funding for the initiative, and officials from UPS have offered their services to help transport the supplies.

“This is a partnership of many elements of our compassionate community,” Tobin said, noting that the organization was created more than two decades ago by physicians at the UofL Department of Surgery, with early participation by UofL, Jewish and Norton hospitals. “And they continue to supply the needed supplies you see here today.”

Tobin said SOS has shipped more than $60 million in supplies to more than 106 countries around the world.

Gonzalez said UofL’s participation is an example of one of its Cardinal Principles, being a Community of Care. And she thanked those who have pulled the initiative together.

“This is an example of the university and the city stepping up to help those in need,” she said. “To the people of Ukraine, you are in our thoughts. You are in our prayers. And more importantly … we are able to take action to actually give help on the ground.”

People wishing to donate medical supplies can drop them off at the SOS headquarters, 1500 Arlington Avenue in Louisville, or request pick up for larger items. The first shipment of supplies to Ukraine is expected to leave Louisville early this week.