FORT WORTH, Texas – TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine medical students have collected and distributed more than 40,000 personal protective equipment items to healthcare workers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area during the past six months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have delivered about 99 percent of the items that we have gotten so far,” said Connor Rodriquez, a second-year medical student at the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine. “But there still is a great need and we’re going to accept those donations and distribute them when they come in.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread across the United States in early March, health care providers, hospitals and health systems were facing extraordinary shortages of personal protective equipment, or PPE, healthcare workers on the frontlines battling the virus. At one point, earlier on in the pandemic, some health care partners in the Fort Worth area reported having less than a 5-day supply of the critical PPE needed.
In late March, Rodriquez and his fellow classmate, second-year medical student Stephanie Schaumberg, began organizing what would become the FORT WORTH PPE Drive led by collective effort of 25 of the Fort Worth M.D. school medical students.
The medical students collected new and unused masks, gloves, and gowns to distribute to nearly two dozen Dallas-Fort Worth area community providers, clinics, and nursing homes.
“Being able to actually see some of our classmates and the enthusiasm that they brought into it,” Rodriquez said. “It made the experience even better.”
The students were able to gather 40,593 PPE items in total as of September 1, with the top three donated items being gloves, masks and face shields. The more than 30 PPE donors came from all over the Dallas-Fort Worth area, which included the United Way of Tarrant County, Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Sodexo, Solatube, Kraton Corporation and Texas Christian University.
The medical students were also able to raise over $1,000 through their GoFundMe page to buy additional PPE items.
“When I’m on the frontline in a few years as a physician I would also want to have enough PPE,” Rodriguez said. “Hopefully we were able to help out quite a bit of people and that’s what’s really rewarding by doing something like this.”
If you still want to make a donation new and unused masks, gloves, and gowns you can reach out to the medical students via email at: MDPPE@tcu.edu