Answering the Call: Crowdsourcing COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment in South Florida
When COVID-19 began to spread rapidly across the United States in April 2020, over 140 health care centers in Central & South Florida expressed concern over dramatic shortages in personal protective equipment (PPE) and requested rapid sourcing.1 In order to assess local deficits, M1 and M3 students from Nova Southeastern University Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Allopathic Medicine (NSU MD) contacted the Broward County Medical Association (BCMA) and hospital centers in Central and South Florida to identify specific PPE shortages and develop tangible solutions. We implemented a temporary-use face shield solution with coordination support from students at George Washington University.2 $1,400 was raised within 24 hours through crowdfunding on the website GoFundME. These funds were used to purchase materials for face shield assembly kits. The kits consisted of multipurpose foam, transparency films, CobanTM wrap, and a plier stapler with staples. Each kit yielded 190-200 disposable face shields. The kits were distributed to eight medical student volunteers and used to construct more than 3,100 face shields. The face shields were distributed to clinics and hospitals in Broward, Palm Beach, Miami-Dade, and Orange counties to increase access to PPE for frontline workers. We identified community needs and developed an inexpensive and effective solution for PPE shortages in Central and South Florida. Furthermore, we built community partnerships and developed an understanding of the vital roles that physicians play in their communities outside the walls of the clinic.
- Gondi S, Beckman AL, Deveau N, et al. Personal protective equipment needs in the USA during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lancet. 2020;395(10237). doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(20)31038-2
- Young J. Health Care Workers Turn to GoFundMe to pay for vital safety equipment. HuffPost. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/health-care-workers-turn-to-gofundme-to-pay-for-vital-safety-equipme…. Published May 1, 2020. Accessed February 6, 2022.
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