UCI Health provides help and medical supplies to international care providers

July 08, 2019
eaton family and UCI nurses picking up donated medical supplies for Not Just Tourists

UCI Health is partnering with the first U.S. chapter of the nonprofit organization Not Just Tourists to recycle and redistribute potentially life-saving medical supplies to international care providers in need — and they’re the only U.S. hospital to do so.

The collaboration was spearheaded by Gary Brentlinger, a nurse manager at UCI Health, after being approached by a former colleague. “I was kind of stunned with the work they did,” says Brentlinger of his introduction to Carl and Tara Eaton — local residents who run the Orange County chapter of the international organization.

As part of the collaboration, UCI Health can send medical supplies that are headed for landfills and support a world-wide community effort to promote better health care in impoverished areas, while reducing their carbon footprint.

“Hospitals often have to throw away perfectly viable medical supplies to meet regulatory standards, and then are charged by the kilogram to remove the medical waste,” explains Brentlinger. “We save money simply by donating viable supplies to people who need and can use them. “

Donated items include:

  • Dressings and bandages
  • Medical tape and gloves
  • Basic airway equipment
  • Unused needles and syringes
  • Dental, optical and personal hygiene items

Through this partnership, UCI Health has donated more than 3,400 pounds of medical supplies in the last 18 months to Not Just Tourists, and employees have volunteered as travel tourists to places like Ghana and Cuba. One nurse traveled to Ghana on a medical mission with a large group and was able to take 10 suitcases full of supplies to a local care provider. 

“Sending something as simple as gloves to an impoverished country can help prevent someone getting Ebola — that’s amazing to me,” says Brentlinger. “We take so much for granted and have so much to give. Here’s some small way we can all help.”


UCI Health comprises the clinical enterprise of the University of California, Irvine. Patients can access UCI Health at primary and specialty care offices across Orange County and at its main campus, UCI Medical Center in Orange, California. The 417-bed acute care hospital provides tertiary and quaternary care, ambulatory and specialty medical clinics, and behavioral health and rehabilitation services. UCI Medical Center features Orange County’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, high-risk perinatal/neonatal program and American College of Surgeons-verified Level I adult and Level II pediatric trauma center and regional burn center. UCI Health serves a region of nearly 4 million people in Orange County, western Riverside County and southeast Los Angeles County. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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