Thrive by IU Health

August 19, 2021

IU Health Surgeon First to Donate to COVID-19 Relief Fund

“I am sure none of us have ever witnessed such a thing in our lifetimes. None of us. I think that’s where my sense came that I’ve got to do something.”

IU Health division chief of vascular surgery, Raghu Motaganahalli, MD, understood early on in the global COVID-19 pandemic that there would soon be reason and room to help others impacted by this crisis. After a video conference with IU Health’s Academic Health Center chief medical officer and other colleagues, Motaganahalli realized the time to act was upon him. He approached IU Health Foundation about making a donation that would support IU Health team members through this difficult time.

“I was hearing the news from other colleagues that their family members have lost their jobs and they’re finding difficulty getting the support they need,” Motaganahalli said. “The community as well as individuals make a lot of difference. I think we’re all in this together.”

And “together” is exactly how Motaganahalli thinks we’ll get through this crisis--even when we’re all apart. Inspired by the example of his parents, especially his mother, who he says always reached out to support members of their community in times of need, Motaganahalli became the first donor to the IU Health COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund. He designated his gift to team member support and made the donation in his mother’s name.

Motaganahalli is currently working from home, seeing patients virtually and providing emergency vascular care. He misses the one-on-one interaction, but says it’s necessary right now to prevent exposure to the virus and keep both patients and healthcare providers safe. And though he doesn’t want recognition for doing what he believes is the right thing, he does want to encourage others, especially his fellow physicians, to do what they can to make a difference.

“It’s not going to be left to one organization or one government to take care of this,” he said. “I think it is for all to do whatever they can. I think it is all of our responsibility. Some of us can contribute in a monetary fashion, some of us can contribute in-kind, and some of us can contribute in physical energy.”

Letter written by Motaganahalli

Even when the crisis is over, said Motaganahalli, hard work will still be ahead. “Providing emotional support, doing some volunteer work, or caring for individuals’ needs,” he said. “Yes, we will get this under control, but I think beyond is what we need to be thinking about.”

His mother, who passed away 10 years ago, would have done the same. That encourages Motaganahalli to look for more ways to help as we navigate this uncertain time.

Access the latest IU Health resources and information about COVID-19 here.