Elizabeth A. McLellan, RN MSN MPH DRPS (HON) | Founder + President of Partners for World Health

While working in a trauma center in Saudi Arabia, Elizabeth McLellan visited a hospital in Pakistan where she met a surgeon wearing a cotton robe covered in blood. Once inside, McLellan watched as the surgeon tended to each patient’s wounds and wiped his blood-stained hands onto his gown. “I looked at this whole scene and thought ‘Someday, when I go home, I’m going to do something about this,’” McLellan says, “and that is what I’ve done.” In 2007, 14 years after visiting the Pakistani hospital, she started gathering discarded and used medical supplies from Maine Medical Center and storing them in her home. After two years, she had collected over 11,000 pounds of recycled hospital equipment and founded Partners for World Health, the only New England–based nonprofit organization that collects, packages, and distributes medical supplies to countries in need. More than 800 people in Maine volunteer with Partners for World Health, ranging from high school students to retired adults. Last year alone, the group organized and repurposed over 250,000 pounds of medical equipment from hospitals in New England that would otherwise have been discarded. In 2011 the American Red Cross of Maine awarded McLellan the Real Hero Award, and she’s also received the Governor’s Award for Outstanding Nonprofit Volunteer Program from the State of Maine. She aims to teach her volunteers the importance of committing to something greater than themselves. “I am happy to lead an organization that has such an incredible impact on people both in our own country and overseas,” McLellan says. “In America, we have so much, and it’s time to give back.”

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