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Harris Teeter, Carolinas HealthCare System and Chiquita Brands Collaborate to Support Sustainable Healthcare Abroad
Harris Teeter, Carolinas HealthCare System and Chiquita Brands Collaborate to Support Sustainable Healthcare Abroad 

Harris Teeter, Carolinas HealthCare System’s International Medical Outreach (IMO) Program and Chiquita Brands are collaborating to promote sustainable, quality healthcare and education in underserved communities globally.

The three Charlotte-based organizations have joined forces to facilitate the transportation and delivery of medical and computer equipment donations abroad. With support from Harris Teeter and Chiquita, Carolinas HealthCare System’s IMO Program - a partnership with the Heineman Foundation of Charlotte - will distribute equipment and supplies more effectively to hospitals and clinics in Honduras, Guatemala and Panama, and to public schools in Guatemala. 

“Carolinas HealthCare System is proud to work with partners like Chiquita and Harris Teeter on a project that has the potential to significantly change lives,” said Michael Tarwater, chief executive officer for Carolinas HealthCare System.

Harris Teeter and Chiquita are collaborating to provide free land and sea transportation of medical equipment from the IMO warehouse location in Charlotte to facilities in need in Central America. The first set of containers were loaded at an employee volunteer event on April 10 and will be shipped to Guatemala, where the supplies will help equip adult and pediatric intensive care units at a regional hospital in the city of Quetzaltenango.

“Everyone at Chiquita is excited about this new partnership,” said Ed Lonergan, president and chief executive officer for Chiquita. “Improving, supporting and giving back to the communities in which our employees work and live is very important to Chiquita. This is a natural collaborative effort between three Charlotte-based companies and a great avenue for all of us to help others globally.”

Carolinas HealthCare System’s IMO Program has a 50-year history of assembling, refurbishing and donating equipment and supplies in several countries, establishing sustainable cardiology programs, intensive care units, and more.

“Harris Teeter has a proud history of working with the International Medical Outreach Program,” said Catherine Becker, Communication Manager for Harris Teeter. “We are pleased to once again partner with two outstanding Charlotte-based organizations to help IMO further its humanitarian mission to promote better living standards and sustainable healthcare both here and abroad.”

“We are thrilled to embark on this meaningful partnership with two strong community partners that, like us, are committed to benefiting people everywhere,” said Francis Robicsek, MD, PhD, vice president of Carolinas HealthCare System’s IMO Program. “With their support, we can increase our involvement in assistance projects abroad.”

To date, IMO has helped thousands of patients in 28 countries, with a focus in Central America. In 2012 alone, it donated 390 pieces of medical equipment, worth $4.1 million if purchased new, to nearly a dozen countries. 

About Carolinas HeathCare System

Carolinas HealthCare System, one of the nation’s leading and most innovative healthcare organizations, provides a full spectrum of healthcare and wellness programs throughout North and South Carolina. Its diverse network of care locations includes academic medical centers, hospitals, freestanding emergency departments, physician practices, surgical and rehabilitation centers, home health agencies, nursing homes and behavioral health centers, as well as hospice and palliative care services. CHS works to improve and enhance the overall health and wellbeing of its communities through high quality patient care, education and research programs, and numerous collaborative partnerships and initiatives.

About the Heineman Foundation of Charlotte

Since its establishment in 1943, the Heineman Foundation of Charlotte has pursued a variety of local and international research and humanitarian projects focused on providing medical assistance and education. Located on the campus of Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C., Heineman works closely with CHS to provide medical training focused on cardiac care to health providers overseas, as well as medical equipment and supplies to impoverished countries.

About Chiquita Brands International

Chiquita Brands International, Inc. (NYSE: CQB) is a leading international marketer and distributor of nutritious, high-quality fresh and value-added food products – from energy-rich bananas, blends of convenient green salads and other fruits to healthy snacking products.  The company markets its healthy, fresh products under the Chiquita® and Fresh Express® premium brands and other related trademarks.  With annual revenues of more than $3 billion, Chiquita employs approximately 20,000 people and has operations in nearly 70 countries worldwide.  For more information, please visit the corporate web site at