University of Massachusetts Medical School Collective Student Response To COVID-19
The University of Massachusetts Medical School COVID-19 Student Task Force (UMMS CSTF) was established in response to the needs of the healthcare system in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal is to provide students the opportunity to engage in community-based service while promoting social distancing and addressing health concerns brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. UMMS CSTF was started by a group of students and administrators at the University of Massachusetts - Worcester. Currently, students and administrators from every school (University of Massachusetts School of Medicine (SOM), University of Massachusetts Graduate School of Nursing (GSN), and University of Massachusetts Graduate School of Biomedical Science (GSBS)) are participating. In addition, students enrolled in the UMMS Population, Urban, Rural and Community Health (PURCH) Pathway have also implemented these efforts in the Hampden County, MA community through their partnership with Baystate Health.
Members of the UMMS CSTF have successfully implemented and are currently expanding 17 community-based learning and service projects with multiple other projects currently in development. Within three weeks of organizing, the UMMS CSTF facilitated and contributed to: the delivery and procurement of over 20,000 pairs of gloves and 1,000 N95 masks, respiratory fit testing of over 1,000 UMass Memorial Medical Center employees, trained over 700 staff on tele-health technology, established community hotlines that support 30 community individuals, obtained 130 gallons of sanitizer, and increased remote access to public resources to all 781 patients at the UMass Memorial Medical Center.
The success of these projects was led by a unified effort of students and faculty at UMass Medical School willing to overcome challenges and prioritize their community over themselves. In the attached document, we have described the goals of the task force, general principles of practice, and details about each project that was worked on in the first three weeks of its organization. We have made a special effort to include the challenges each project faced and the solutions used so that this may be a resource for any school or student working to solve urgent health needs in the future.
This is an open-access publication distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license.