Meet the Fil-Am health worker using her Hollywood connections to help with global medical supply shortage

LOS ANGELES —  Mel Oliver, a cardiovascular perfusionist and emergency medical technician, has made it her mission in life to make a difference — not only in the U.S. but also in the Philippines.

After a decade of conducting medical missions, she started Isla Medical Foundation in Siargao.

“I went there on a surf trip, a few years ago and fell in love. I noticed the health care system isn’t great. I made friends with the locals, they would tell me about their issue.”

Her expertise has also taken her to Hollywood, working as a medical consultant on hit shows such as Grey’s Anatomy.

With more and more projects in the entertainment world — Oliver started Reel Medical Consulting, and with each production she worked at, she began stocking up on extra and unused medical supplies.

“After we’re done filming, they don’t need some of the stuff that they have bought mostly like gauze or tape, and I’ve been able to take those with me and send them to the Philippines or other places in the world where they don’t have that luxury.”

Amid the coronavirus virus — with medical supplies and protective gear running out, Oliver has stepped up to help.

“The stuff that I’m collecting now that can be used at local hospitals, I’ll give to local hospitals because there are some local hospitals that are completely out of masks and gloves and face shields, and then what the hospitals won’t take, I’ll send to the Philippines. It makes me feel good and makes me feel proud to be both part of Hollywood and be part of the receiving end which is medical practitioners.”

In a region where the entertainment industry has been hit hard by the pandemic, Mel has been one of the brightest stars, playing a supporting role — bridging together TV magic and real life front-liners with these life-saving tools.

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