Director, MedSurplus Alliance
Lori Warrens – Medical Equipment & Supplies
Lori Warrens has always had a knack for connecting people with the goods and services they need. If you’ve ever dialed 2-1-1 to locate food, shelter, healthcare, emergency financial assistance, counseling, or other critical services for yourself or your family, you took advantage of a resource Warrens spearheaded in 1998 while COO of the United Way of Atlanta.
Available to 95 percent of the population, this free service provides 24-hour telephone and online access to certified information and referral specialists who are trained to assess caller needs and provide referrals to human services in their community. 2-1-1 is the most comprehensive source of human and social services information in the United States and most of Canada. (reference 211.org)
In the recovery phase of a disaster, relief agencies often cannot quickly and effectively communicate with one another about client needs, available services, or services already provided. As a result, victims do not receive the resources they need when they need them. In the wake of the inefficient response to 9/11, Congress asked nonprofits to address this problem.
As director of the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems, Warrens joined the leaders of seven of the nation’s largest disaster and human service organizations to create a groundbreaking, community-based solution – the Coordinated Assistance Network (CAN). CAN includes an operating framework and shared online tools that enable local coalitions to develop innovative solutions and make tangible improvements in relief and recovery services. CAN is a year-round community-led preparedness and response coalition that is ready to respond when disaster strikes.
In developing nations and disaster-stricken countries, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, and medical supplies are often in short supply, leaving millions of people vulnerable. Philanthropic-minded pharmaceutical, medical device, and supply companies, along with hospitals and healthcare systems that want to help may not know what supplies to send, or what donation protocols to follow.
That is where the Partnership for Quality Medical Donations (PQMD) and MedSurplus Alliance (MSA) have been integral to ensuring requested, needed, and appropriate medical donations to healthcare providers in low resource settings. As the Director of PQMD and now MSA, Warrens built powerful standards-based partnerships between product donors and the organizations that distribute them to people in need.
In 2018, MSA came under The Task Force’s umbrella. MSA is a cross-sector alliance of Medical Surplus Recovery Organizations (MSROs), medical equipment and consumable product donors, and other medical supply chain stakeholders. MSA developed the first set of professional standards and an accreditation program for MSROs. Aligned with the World Health Organization medical product donations guidelines, MSA programs help ensure that donors provide countries in need with the most appropriate medical products and equipment.
“Joining The Task Force is another watershed moment for MSA. Up to 80 percent of medical products used in under-resourced settings are donated,” Warrens says. “Ensuring that no one need die due to a lack of medical products is a huge challenge. The Task Force is a recognized global health leader, building powerful partnerships and solving some of the world’s most difficult challenges. Joining The Task Force offers MSA the resources we need to meet our goal, and an opportunity for MSA to contribute to the Task Force’s new health systems-strengthening initiatives.”