Brown University Doctor Leads Earthquake Relief Efforts for Displaced Nepali Families

The HAPSA team making a delivery of sanitation kits.

When a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck rural Nepal this month, Brown University emergency medicine physician Dr. Ramu Kharel quickly mobilized to provide aid.

Dr. Ramu Kharel

Dr. Kharel, who is Nepali American, started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for sanitation kits containing essentials like soap, masks, and feminine hygiene products. His non-profit HAPSA Nepal aims to distribute 40,000 kits to displaced families in remote areas that lack infrastructure and access to healthcare.

Dr. Kharel spends months each year working in Nepal. He formed HAPSA after the devastating 2015 earthquake to focus on rebuilding and disaster preparedness. He has partnered with a Nepal hospital to train community health workers in trauma response.

Dr. Kharel’s relief efforts have been buoyed by Nepali students at Brown who raised $700 through a cookie sale. Environmental scientist Sonam Sherpa, who is from Nepal, explained the earthquake risks of the region’s tectonic plates and lamented the vulnerability of rural stone and mud homes. Through the continued recovery from the 2015 quake and this new disaster, Dr. Kharel stresses the need for long-term aid and resilient infrastructure in Nepal’s poorest communities.

An example of the devastation of the earthquake in Nepal.

Read the full article in the The Brown Daily Herald.

What is HAPSA?

HAPSA is a non-profit organization that has been working to strengthen health system in Nepal, be it through improving primary health care service or through public health improvement in coordination with the government bodies. HAPSA members are young professionals from around the world who care about just, equitable health services for all. Their innovative model enhances government health services by fostering community participation and directly supporting health facility staff.

About Dr. Kharel

Dr. Kharel

Dr. Ramu Kharel is an Assistant Professor in Emergency Medicine with an appointment in the Division of Global Emergency Medicine at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University. He received his Medical Doctorate from UT Southwestern in Dallas  and his Masters of Public Health from the T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard University. He  completed specialty training in Emergency Medicine at Emory University in Atlanta. Dr. Kharel also has completed focused sub-specialty training in Global Emergency Medicine research and Clinical Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 

Dr. Kharel works clinically in the United States as a practicing emergency care physician and also undertakes global health research focused in Nepal.. His research focuses  predominantly on improving emergency care systems. His work equips community health workers to respond to emergencies in pre-hospital settings. Dr. Kharel is the founder of a grassroots NGO in Nepal called HAPSA Nepal and has worked extensively in earthquake response, COVID-19 response and other disasters. He is on the board of non-governmental organizations working in health care delivery in Nepal as well.  Dr. Kharel is very active in social media, mostly teaching public health measures in the face of population disasters. Dr. Kharel loves basketball and Urdu poetry. 

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