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Global Links
Global Links

Life Changing Is ... Supporting Communities Through Sustainability 

Global Links

“To have a clinic in your community that is furnished and all the medical supplies coming from some of these UPMC hospitals is literally lifesaving.”

UPMC has been proud to support Global Links as a community partner for more than three decades.

Since 1989, Global Links has rescued surplus medical supplies and equipment and redirected them to communities in need. Their dedication to sustainability and improving access to quality care has affected communities domestically and internationally.

Learn more about Global Links and how you can help support health programs locally and internationally.

Read stories from volunteers below.

Inside UPMC Mercy, furniture like couches, chairs, filing cabinets, tables, and more line the hallway of the ninth floor.

They are not being discarded. Instead, they are awaiting a second life, one that could prove life-changing for someone else.

The items are going to Global Links, a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit that rescues surplus medical supplies and furnishings. Global Links then provides the items to clinics, doctors, and hospitals in under-resourced communities.

“It's so wonderful,” says Stacy Bodow, outreach and engagement manager, Global Links. “Because the partners that we work with don't really have access to these kinds of furnishings.”

UPMC is proud to support Global Links in its mission of improving the health of our communities for over three decades. In February 2024, Global Links presented UPMC Mercy and UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh with its Outstanding Hospital Partner Award.

“Seeing the things that Global Links does and the stories that they share, just to be a part of that, it's really rewarding,” says Mike Carlson, director, Environmental Services, UPMC Mercy.

Mike says the hospital had been storing “a ton” of furniture since the COVID-19 pandemic changed how medical facilities operate. Once they started getting everything back out, they quickly realized they had a lot of unneeded furniture.

Through UPMC’s sustainability team, the hospital reached out to Global Links about finding a new home for everything.

“They said they could make really good use of it,” Mike says. “So, from a sustainability aspect, it takes something that we weren't using (and) gives it to somebody that can put it to great use.”

Megan Sotirokos, Global Links’ manager of surplus procurement and purchasing, met with the team at UPMC Mercy to assess everything. She then determined which items would be a good fit for their programs.

Next, she arranged a pickup date and coordinated logistics with the Global Links warehouse team, led by Ray Mollica.

“Our warehouse team is amazing,” Stacy says. “They are packing the stuff up, getting it downstairs from the ninth floor to the loading dock (and) into our trucks, which will then go back to Global Links.

“They'll unload it, and that's when they really start to evaluate. They'll do any last-minute cleaning or fixing that needs to happen so that we can offer them out to our programs.”

Stacy says most of the furnishings from the hospital will benefit international programs in regions like Latin America and the Caribbean. Global Links works with the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization.

“Our team will visit and do needs assessments with the local ministries of health,” Stacy says. “But we work mostly in rural and indigenous areas in these countries. As long as the area has a building, a health care facility building, and a health care worker that they can pay, we can fill in the gaps with all the other things like furnishings.”

Lifesaving surplus

Some of the communities Global Links assists have brand-new clinics. Other times, it may take residents several hours to reach the nearest medical facility. That is time patients do not have to spare if they go into labor or suffer an emergency.

“To have a clinic in your community that is furnished and all the medical supplies coming from some of these UPMC hospitals is literally lifesaving,” Stacy says. “It changes everything.”

Stacy recalls a trip the Global Links team made to Bolivia. They met a doctor who was using a pair of rusty scissors that were partially broken.

“They were able to provide him with a whole bunch of different surgical instruments, and he was just thrilled beyond belief,” Stacy says.

Global Links also provided a wheelchair to a man in Haiti who had been bedbound for decades.  

“That's one of those things that makes you choke up,” says volunteer Dave Engle. Dave, a retired neurosurgeon, is one of six volunteers who repair wheelchairs at Global Links.

"He was just crying with happiness," Dave recalled.

The stories from Bolivia and Haiti are just two examples of the life-changing impact of Global Links’ work.

“What we're doing here, it gets flown away somewhere, and you give someone a chance to have a better life," Dave says. "That's pretty good."

At UPMC, Life Changing Medicine means supporting our communities through sustainability and sharing surplus.

Pittsburgh (KDKA): Pittsburgh-area nonprofit organization collects supplies to distribute to those in need.

Read stories from volunteers at Global Links

See All That UPMC Does in the Community

Community Commitment

Community Commitment

Working in partnership with the University of Pittsburgh and a wide range of community organizations, we are committed to improving the health of the communities we serve.

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Charitable Giving

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Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteer Opportunities

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