Utahns, including a team of medical doctors, have responded to the Soviets' desperate plea for help and have joined thousands of volunteers around the world to alleviate the suffering of survivors of the Soviet earthquake.

Foreign medical experts said relief efforts are focusing on the living because it's too late to save people still trapped.A kidney dialysis team from the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Utah School of Medicine will fly to the ravaged area Dec. 16 to treat victims crushed in the disaster.

The Utah team extended its relief efforts at the request of Armenian Health Minister Ermin Gabriellian.

The Utah team includes Dr. Martin C. Gregory, associate professor of internal medicine; Dr. Carl Kablitz, assistant professor of internal medicine; Barry Deeter, a hemodialysis technician at the U.-operated Castleview Dialysis Center in Price; and a fourth person to act as an interpreter.

Gregory said they will take eight wearable artificial kidneys, battery-powered portable hemodialysis machines that do not need to be plugged into a wall. The machine was developed at the U. by Dr. Willem J. Kolff.

He said Soviet officials were aware of the university's expertise with the artificial kidney and that they indicated that the portable dialysis technology would be useful in earthquake-stricken Yereven, Armenia's capital, which apparently is experiencing frequent brown-outs.

"Victims of so-called `crush syndrome' have had many of their muscles destroyed, which leads to acute kidney failure," Gregory said. "But after they are dialyzed several times, many of them can return to normal kidney function."

The Utah team, which is expected to spend about 10 days in the Soviet Union, will take tents and sleeping bags and will set up camp as close as possible to the patients they will treat.

In tandem with the Utah effort, the National Kidney Foundation plans to send a handful of physicians and a number of standard electrically powered hemodiaysis machines to the Soviet Union.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Wednesday also announced its initial contribution to the relief for the earthquake victims. Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Council of the Twelve presented a $100,000 check to Yuri V. Dubinin, the Soviet Ambassador to the United States. The presentation was made in the Soviet Embassy in Washington, D.C., on behalf of church members and leaders.

The money was allocated by the church's First Presidency from special contributions made by church members worldwide to assist victims of drought and other causes in various parts of the world. Nearly $11 million was raised in two special fast days, during which members in the United States and Canada abstained from food and drink and made generous contributions.

Elder Nelson said the $100,000 was a beginning gesture. As needs unfold, consideration will be given to what further contributions would best serve those so deeply affected by this tragedy in three Armenian cities and 28 rural settlements, he said.

The Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City also is accepting monetary donations for the Armenian earthquake relief effort.

Nationally, Catholic Relief Services already has set aside a $100,000 grant, which it will contribute through the Armenian Catholic Exarchate of the United States and Canada. The money will be used to meet quake victims' immediate needs.

In Utah, monetary contributions can be mailed to Deacon Silvio Mayo, director, Diocesan Armenia Fund, Catholic Relief Services, 27 C St., Salt Lake City, UT 84103. Catholic Relief Services is not accepting material contributions.