Tulane University School of Medicine COVID Response Group
The Tulane University School of Medicine COVID Response Group’s primary goal is to collect and distribute donated personal protective equipment (PPE) to our frontline providers in New Orleans. The coordinating students are members of the Executive Board of the Student Clinic Council (SCC), a team of M2 and M3 students who provide student input and oversight for community-based student activities. After offering to donate existing Student Clinic Council PPE, we were approached by our Associate Dean of Admissions and Student Affairs and a Tulane Infectious Disease Physician, to help coordinate a PPE Donation Program on March 20th, 11 days after the first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in New Orleans and it became evident that there would be a shortage of PPE. Within three days, we had galvanized over 100 medical student volunteers (M1-M4s) and began collecting donations from the community and local businesses and industry. Disbursements began the following day.
We have been actively seeking PPE donations, specifically masks (surgical and N-95), gowns, gloves, eye protection, face shields, hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, and industrial cleaning supplies for the frontline healthcare providers at both Tulane Medical Center, a for-profit hospital operated by HCA and University Medical Center, the nearby public institution, operated by LCMC Health, a non-for-profit system. About 40 of the volunteers have been making phone calls and sending emails to local businesses and industry to solicit these donations. Other student volunteers either staff donation hotline shifts or donation inventory shifts, based at the School of Medicine, where donations are received, sorted, and distributed.
Notably, to date 12,894 N95s, 22,444 surgical face masks, 1703 face shields, 1100 goggles/other eye protection, 3,305 boxes of gloves and 6,521 gowns/coveralls among other donations have been collected. The organizing team of students work closely with Tulane University administration and physicians and hospital administration at both Tulane Medical Center and University Medical Center, to coordinate the distribution of PPE directly to healthcare providers. This project has successfully met the goal of acquiring and distributing PPE for healthcare workers at a time of critical shortage during the surge of COVID-19 cases in the greater New Orleans area and bridging the gap prior to manufacturing increases that would meet this critical need.