Lara Garfinkel and Laura Taitz founded MedEarth in 2013, based on the inspiration provided by MedWish (www.medwish.org) in the United States. They realised that there was a gap in the medical waste landscape of Australia and that by forming MedEarth they could promote the protection and enhancement of our environment whilst helping to save the lives of those in need around the world.
About MedWish and its founder
MedWish was founded in 1993 by Dr. Lee Ponsky in Cleveland Ohio. In the summer of 1991 Lee spent time on a medical compound in Ogbomosho, Nigeria, where he served as a surgical assistant and spent time with the World Health Organization. It was there he witnessed the lack of medical supplies in developing countries. Upon returning to Cleveland in 1993, Lee was determined to help resolve this need so he came up with the idea of creating a not for profit organisation that collects unused medical supplies that would otherwise have been discarded to landfill and donates it to developing countries. MedWish was born.
Lee has received numerous accolades for his charity work with MedWish, including U.S. Congressional Recognition. Lee also serves as a founding board member of MedWorks, a not for profit that provides free healthcare clinics to the uninsured and under-insured. Lee and his wife Monica and their three children reside in Moreland Hills, Ohio and recently spent a year in Australia where Lee worked at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney.
From the humble start in Dr. Ponsky’s parents’ garage to its current location at the Cleveland Clinic Parker Building, MedWish International has greatly expanded its operations, offering more supplies, hope, and healing to those in need in developing countries.
To date, MedWish has recovered more than 3 million pounds of medical surplus from nearly 70 hospitals in the U.S. In 2012, MedWish diverted about 400,000 pounds of usable medical surplus from disposal, keeping these lifesaving items out of landfills and putting them in the hands of people in need across the globe.
Lee has been extensively involved in the establishment of MedEarth and continues to share his 20 years MedWish experience with the MedEarth Board.