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Abbott, The Abbott Fund Provide $2 Million in Additional Relief to Help Families Affected By Hurricane Maria, Earthquake in Mexico

Total support for relief efforts following earthquakes in Mexico and Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria is $4.25 million in products and funding.

People walk on the street next to debris after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Guayama, Puerto Rico Sept. 20, 2017. / REUTERS

Abbott (No. 10 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list)  and its foundation, the Abbott Fund, are providing $2 million in additional grants and products to support relief efforts and help families recover from Hurricane Maria in the Caribbean, and the earthquake in Central Mexico.  This builds on earlier aid for Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and the earthquake in Southern Mexico. To date, Abbott and the Abbott Fund have provided $4.25 million in funding and nutrition and healthcare products to help with relief efforts in recent weeks.


"Our thoughts, and our actions, are focused right now on how we can help our colleagues and the many families across Mexico, the Caribbean and in the U.S. who are coping with the recent hurricanes and earthquakes," said Miles D. White, chairman and chief executive officer, Abbott. "We hope our assistance will meet critically urgent needs as well as help support rebuilding these communities in the weeks and months ahead."

Mexico Earthquakes

Abbott and the Abbott Fund are providing $1 million in relief to help communities in Central Mexico affected by the recent earthquake. The Abbott Fund is providing $750,000 in grants to the Mexican Red Cross and Direct Relief, and Abbott is donating $250,000 in nutrition products and medicines, including donations to the National Chamber of the Pharmaceutical Industry (CANIFARMA) to support the government's relief efforts.

This support builds on an earlier $250,000 in funding and product donations for relief efforts following the earthquake in Southern Mexico. The Abbott Fund provided $50,000 to Direct Relief, and Abbott provided $200,000 in nutrition products and medicines to support the government's relief efforts in Chiapas and Oaxaca.

Altogether, Abbott and the Abbott Fund are providing $1.25 million in support for relief efforts following the earthquakes in Mexico.

Hurricane Relief

Abbott and the Abbott Fund are providing $1 million in additional relief to help communities in Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands affected by Hurricane Maria. This includes $750,000 in grants from the Abbott Fund to the American Red Cross, Americares, Direct Relief, Feeding America and Heart to Heart International, and $250,000 in donated Abbott nutrition and healthcare products to relief organizations.

Abbott and the Abbott Fund previously announced $1 million in grants and products to support Hurricane Irma relief efforts in the Southeastern U.S., Puerto Rico and other affected islands in the Caribbean. This includes $900,000 in grants from the Abbott Fund to the American Red Cross, Direct Relief and Feeding America, and $100,000 in donated Abbott nutrition and healthcare products to relief organizations.

Abbott and the Abbott Fund also previously announced $1 million in donations to support Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in Texas and Louisiana. This includes $900,000 in grants from the Abbott Fund to the American Red Cross, Americares and Direct Relief, and $100,000 in donated Abbott nutrition and healthcare products to relief organizations.

The donations following Hurricanes Irma, Harvey and Maria also build on earlier work with our partners Direct Relief and Feeding America to help communities prepare for the 2017 hurricane season. Abbott nutrition and healthcare products were stored at health clinics and food banks in advance of hurricane season in Florida, Louisiana, Puerto Rico and Texas. As a result, these clinics and food banks were able to quickly respond to meet immediate needs following Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Altogether, the combined Abbott and Abbott Fund support for hurricane preparation and relief is $3 million in products and grants to help families in affected areas.

Connect with Abbott at www.abbott.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Abbott and on Twitter @AbbottNews and @AbbottGlobal.

The Abbott Fund is a philanthropic foundation established by Abbott in 1951. The Abbott Fund's mission is to create healthier global communities by investing in creative ideas that promote science, expand access to healthcare and strengthen communities worldwide. For more information on the Abbott Fund, visit www.abbottfund.org.

AbbVie: Rebuilding Puerto Rico, One Community Health Center at a Time

From ensuring backup energy sources to introducing a telemedicine program, Direct Relief anchors Puerto Rico's resurgence in good health.

Originally Published by AbbVie.

For a Local Doctor, Home is Where The Heart Is

It was summer 2017, and Dr. Yania López Álvarez had just returned to Puerto Rico. A new doctor eager to bring her knowledge back to the island, the 35-year-old radiologist turned down more lucrative job offers on the mainland for the chance to practice at home close to her family.

But a few months later, Hurricane Irma slammed into Puerto Rico. Hurricane Maria came just weeks after, pummeling the island, destroying homes and causing widespread power outages that lasted for months. The official death toll stands at 2,975 people.

A lack of electricity, running water and jobs prompted many to leave the island. An estimated 135,000 people left Puerto Rico in the six months following Maria, according to a report by the Center for Puerto Rican Studies.

Dr. López chose to stay.

"My heart is just here," said Dr. López, director of the Imaging Center of the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine in San Juan.

She represents a small but growing group – skilled Puerto Ricans in the health care field drawn to lead recovery efforts and overcome a shortage of workers post-hurricanes.

This fall, Dr. López will help open Puerto Rico's first breast imaging center and train Puerto Rican residents at the University. She'll be able to bring a specialty that the island's only teaching hospital hasn't seen for 45 years, the last time limited breast imaging was included in residents' training.

"As doctors, as members of this community, we need to build our training programs, and we need to encourage strong foundations for doctors to serve in both times of need and of prosperity," said Dr. López.

Focusing on the Uninsured and Underserved

Dr. López's story highlights the ongoing work in Puerto Rico of Direct Relief, a health-oriented humanitarian aid organization focused on improving the lives of people affected by poverty and emergencies.

After receiving an infusion of $50 million from AbbVie six months ago, leaders at Direct Relief focused on executing the first stage of a three-year partnership to rebuild and strengthen primary care on the island. Direct Relief is the largest source of nongovernmental support for Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) in the United States.

"We wanted to be part of the process to reconstruct and rebuild the town. There are still a lot of beautiful places in Puerto Rico, and not just negative news. There is good."

Yesenia Ortiz, Arroyo resident and health records clerk, Centro de Salud Familiar Clinic

In Puerto Rico, Direct Relief's work focuses on 68 community health centers that serve mostly medically uninsured patients in underserved areas. Close to 90 percent of their collective patients live below the poverty line. Additionally, Direct Relief supports hospitals and health facilities run by the government.

Direct Relief is a longtime, trusted partner of AbbVie, with the two working together since 2014 on joint humanitarian initiatives that center primarily on disaster relief and emergency work around the globe.

"Direct Relief's work is not about restoring the island's primary health care system to the way it was before Maria struck," says Melissa Walsh, vice president, AbbVie Foundation. "It's about building a stronger, more resilient health care system that can hold up against future disasters, so that the people of Puerto Rico can count on reliable, accessible care when they need it the most."

Learn more: How AbbVie's long-term efforts to move Puerto Rico from recovery to resilience.

Taking a Customized Approach for Each Health Center

Direct Relief tailors its support based on the unique needs of each health center and the people they serve. For one clinic, this means a new mobile medical unit with four-wheel drive that can travel across roads in disrepair, often in hard to reach places. For another, it means the right resources to treat chronic conditions common on the island like hypertension and diabetes. Each center is receiving a stockpile of medications and emergency medicine to equip first responders.

Improvements at every clinic contribute to the big picture – ensuring health providers on the island won't have to close their doors or not have life-saving medication available for patients when they need it most.

"At the end of three years, every health center we're supporting will have solar and battery backup so they'll never lose critical infrastructure again," said Andrew MacCalla, director, international programs & emergency response, Direct Relief. "We've never been in a position in our 70-year history to think about these possibilities before receiving AbbVie's support."

Key to the Direct Relief and AbbVie plan is rehabbing public health facilities and services so they can serve as models for other islands in the Caribbean and beyond. A critical component is Direct Relief's strategy to introduce the island's first-ever island-wide telemedicine program.

Introducing Telemedicine to Increase Health Care Access

Hurricane Maria washed out many roads and bridges and left rural communities in isolation. Telemedicine will drastically improve access to health care, especially in these areas, said Ivonne Rodriguez-Wiewall, Senior Advisor for Puerto Rico, Direct Relief.

The organization is partnering with the Puerto Rico Department of Health and the University of Puerto Rico and Ponce Medical School to launch the program. Specialists like Dr. López can consult with patients and their providers directly and help assess how to manage their condition and whether they need to visit a health care facility.

And by equipping more facilities with specialized medical equipment, the vision is that more physicians will be drawn back to lead health centers that serve as the bedrock of communities across the island.

Emphasizing the "Community" in Community Health Clinic

One such clinic is Centro de Salud Familiar, situated on the southern coast of the island where Maria first made landfall with its strongest winds of 155 miles per hour. There, in Arroyo, this center has remained one constant in the lives of residents.

The emergency room of the Centro de Salud Familiar clinic in Arroyo, Puerto Rico, sustained water and wind damage during Hurricane Maria.

Centro de Salud Familiar clinic serves about 13,000 people annually. It is the only provider of primary and preventive health service for Arroyo, Guayama and the surrounding rural areas.

The clinic received an emergency grant from Direct Relief to help bring it back to full strength after Maria caused wind and water damage. The clinic is also a recipient of the AbbVie donation, which funded a custom-built mobile medical unit to reach community members in rural, mountainous areas.

Yesenia Ortiz, 27, works at the clinic as a health records clerk. Her family home in Arroyo was so badly damaged that it had to be demolished and rebuilt, a slow process that is not quite complete over a year later.

Direct Relief followed Yesenia Ortiz and her family after their home in Arroyo was badly damaged when Hurricane Maria swept through the mountainous community. See how they were impacted and why Yesenia's job at a local health clinic is critical to the family and her community.

Drawing Strength to Create a New Path Forward

When Ortiz and her family – including her father, mother and sister – bounced from one relative's home to another during reconstruction, she found solace in her job.

She returned to work five days after Maria, supporting patient intake. Ortiz describes these early days as chaotic, with many patients dealing with both serious physical injuries as well as the aftermath of losing their homes.

Ortiz focused on one goal during these challenging shifts: Make sure everyone got the best service possible. She funneled strength from friends and neighbors who showed resilience, including a nurse at the clinic with two young children whose home was destroyed but was creating a new path forward.

Did the Ortiz family ever consider leaving Puerto Rico? No. They've lived in Arroyo for generations, and likened the thought of leaving to letting people down in the town that means so much to them.

"We wanted to be part of the process to reconstruct and rebuild the town," Ortiz said. "There are still a lot of beautiful places in Puerto Rico, and not just negative news. There is good."

Scientists Name Abbott a Top Workplace

The results are in: Abbott's a top 20 workplace for scientists.

Originally Published by Abbott.

What do scientists at Abbott do?

They create tiny, life-saving devices for baby's hearts, seek out neurons that cause Parkinson's and develop tests for Zika. They invent wearable sensors that eliminate the need for painful fingerpricks for people with diabetes. They drive breakthroughs in infant formula and make it possible to test half the world's blood supply.

They are our superheroes. And today, they've named us one of theirs.

After Science Magazine surveyed scientists at biotech companies around the world – ranking each on 23 characteristics from financial strength to having a research-driven environment – Abbott has landed for the 15th year on its Top Employers list.

The Brighton Consulting Group independently evaluated each company's employer reputation score, considering factors such as whether it treats its employees with respect and whether its work-culture values align with employees' personal values.

One of the coolest things about being a scientist at Abbott is we have tracks for both management – and science. You can continue to climb while never giving up the research you love, or you can choose to take a management track and lead a team. There are paths for advancement for both.

Last year alone, we launched more than 20 life-changing technologies around the globe. We do work that matters.

New Study Shows Abbott's Novel Diagnostic Test Could Help Rule Out Heart Attacks Earlier

Preliminary research indicates that a diagnostic test currently in development, that is done at the patient's side in minutes, has similar accuracy to a high-sensitive troponin test for early rule out of a heart attack .

Originally Published by Abbott.

For someone experiencing cardiac symptoms in the emergency room, every minute matters as physicians determine whether someone is having a heart attack. New data, published online in JAMA Cardiology, found a new blood test under development that is done right at the patient's side in as little as 15 minutes could identify nearly three-fifths (56.7 percent) of people at low-risk of experiencing a heart attack, similar to the results of a High Sensitive Troponin-I blood test done in the laboratory setting.

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An astounding 20,000 pallets of unopened bottled water was discovered on a runway in Ceiba, Puerto Rico.

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Trump Says of Aid to Puerto Rico: 'Incredibly Successful' Storm Response

"If he thinks the death of 3,000 people is a success, God help us all," said Carmen Yulín Cruz, the mayor of San Juan.

REUTERS

President Trump actually boasted on Tuesday about the shortcomings that killed 3,000 Puerto Ricans during, and after, Hurricane Maria last September.

He said that while the response to hurricanes in Texas and Florida got excellent grades, "I think that Puerto Rico was an incredible, unsung success."

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NEW COVERAGE DECISION EXTENDS ABBOTT'S INNOVATIVE PAIN THERAPY OPTION TO 22 MILLION AMERICANS LIVING WITH CHRONIC PAIN

Abbott is the only company in the world with FDA and CE Mark approval to offer dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurostimulation therapy to treat complex nerve pain conditions.

Originally Published by Abbott.

Abbott announced a new national coverage determination for the company's dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurostimulation pain therapy through Aetna®, a leading health benefits company in the United States. With this coverage decision, Aetna will provide more than 22 million medical plan members with access to Abbott's DRG therapy for people with chronic pain.

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Abbott: DRG Stimulator, A Life Changing Technology for Chronic Pain.

The new technological DRG therapy may be the key to easing daily tasks for those with chronic pain.

Originally Published by Abbott.

Living with chronic pain affects not just your body but also your mind. It can make getting around and getting along equally difficult.

But with innovation in health technology comes hope. Abbott has developed a new device found to be more effective than traditional therapy at relieving chronic pain.

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Puerto Rico Says Power Has Been Restored Completely, Residents Say Otherwise

Puerto Rican officials say that the island is fully restored and la gente are speaking out.

REUTERS

Less than 24 hours ago, Puerto Rican officials released a triumphant statement declaring that after 11 months the island's electricity was fully restored.

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