4 Lessons Learned with Operation Green

by Jessica He,

opGreen-Jennifer and Jessica

OpGreen transition team-Jennifer and Jessica

I’ve had the fortune of being the Operation Green coordinator for this year, a great program where medical students gather surplus medical supplies to donate to people and places in need. As I transition the role to our new coordinator, Jennifer Tang, I figure I’d share the top 4 things I’ve learned during my time.

Surplus medical supplies do save lives.  While surplus medical supplies can seem like a hassle to those who work in the hospital (storage woes, disposal fees), hearing the stories of people who have gone to Cuba, Dominican Republic and Honduras with donated medical supplies makes all the difference.

No donation is too small.  On occasion I’ve gone to departments around UHN to do smaller pickups.  The donors are often apologetic or embarrassed at their small donations.  My response is always a resounding “don’t be!”.  Any size donation makes a difference, both its diversion from landfill, and its use in patient care around the world.

No one does it alone!  This year could not have been successful without the work and dedication of our lovely friends at Not Just Tourists!  Every Wednesday evening, volunteers sort through all the donated medical supplies and pack them into suitcases to send abroad.  If you’re travelling and are willing to take a suitcase of medical supplies, email info@njttoronto.com.

Anyone can make a difference!  The TGH Transplant team on 7A shows us how easy it is: as simple as spreading the word and setting up a box in your department for excess medical supplies.  Just let us know where your box is and we’ll come by during each of our scheduled pick ups!

Op Green bin 7A

Bin in 7A

If you’re interested in donating your surplus medical supplies, or have any questions in general, send us an email at OperationGreen@uhn.ca.

Operation Green is a student-run initiative that reduces the environmental impact of the healthcare field while increasing global social responsibility. With the support of dedicated UHN staff, medical students from the University of Toronto collect unused medical supplies and donate them to communities in need around the world.

4 thoughts on “4 Lessons Learned with Operation Green

  1. Hi, Roger here at Michener, very pleased to see the UHN Medical Students taking on and running an initiative like this! Coincidentally last month we, Facilities at Michener, began a relationship with Not Just Tourists! by donating an older Ultrasound machine and some Respiratory Therapy chambers. The Ultrasound machine is headed for Tanzania! Keep it up!


    • Hi Roger,
      That’s great to hear! So glad these machines get a second life to give people in need an even better second life. Let us know the next time you donate and we’ll showcase it so others follow your lead.



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