On April 2, Yale Medicine received a large donation of personal protective equipment (PPE) from a Chinese company and a group of Yale parents. The equipment is critical to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and comes at a time where the supplies are in the highest demand.
More than 7,750 KN95 face masks were donated by AMT Consulting in Shanghai, China with 14,000 additional masks arriving over the next couple weeks. Sixteen boxes of hazmat suits (108 sets) were donated by the Yale Chinese Parent Club. In addition, 2,000 surgical masks are being donated by Chinese employees and families at Boehringer Ingelheim, Danbury Chinese Alliance Church, and West Connecticut Chinese Community.
After learning about Yale’s PPE shortage, Jiankan Guo, PhD, a research scientist within Yale School of Medicine’s (YSM) Section of Nephrology contacted Gary V. Desir, MD, Paul B. Beeson Professor of Medicine, Yale Medicine board chair, and chair of the Internal Medicine, to see how he could help.
“Everyone is talking about flattening the curve, but we also have to talk about the ceiling; the maximal capacity of medical resources. If we lose the front-line physicians, then the residents would lose hope,” Guo said. “When I heard there was a shortage of PPE, I realized it was the time to stand up and do something. I grew up in China and have a lot of connections there, so I reached out to Dr. Desir to see how I can help.”
Guo partnered with Zhenzhen Wu, Steve Xu, Shanshan Zeng and Jason Zhao, to lead a KN95/N95 drive with more than 170 local Chinese volunteers to solicit PPE donations in both Connecticut and China.
“I am so glad that we are here today to witness this donation, which was organized by Dr. Guo,” Desir said. “PPE is critical for us. We have to protect our front-line staff, faculty, trainees, and first responders so that we can remain healthy and provide the care that is necessary.”
Desir also teamed with Lisa Lattanza, MD, chair of Orthopaedics & Rehabilitation, to organize collections and donations to increase the supply of PPE. Lattanza has been working with local suppliers across the Northeast to secure more gowns and masks for physicians at sites across Yale New Haven Health.
“During these times, there is not a lot of orthopaedic surgery going on, so I wanted to help my friends and colleagues on the front lines,” said Lattanza. “We are working to obtain unique sources from friends of Yale in China, Frontline Heroes, local manufacturing here in Connecticut, and local and national innovation and community support. We are trying to bring all these things together to help protect our doctors, nurses, technicians, and everyone else trying to take care of those patients afflicted with COVID-19.”
“Within the last two weeks, we have collected about 2,000 masks from inside Connecticut,” continued Guo. “And today we have already received over 10,000 K95 masks, with another 20,000 in transit. By doing this together, we know that we will survive this crisis and thrive.”
In addition to his role at YSM, Guo serves as the current President of Chinese Association of Science and Technology, Connecticut Chapter.