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Temple Students Are Doing Their Part

News April 16, 2020

Students at Liacouras Center

During this global pandemic and uncertain time, students at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine are finding ways to work together and with the community to do their part wherever they can.

Below are just some of the COVID-19 volunteer initiatives our students are involved in.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Donations

Joe Corcoran, Class of 2021

“A group of students have been working to collect and donate PPE and cleaning supplies from local institutions, businesses and individuals. These efforts have already included over 15,000 gloves from Philadelphia tattoo parlors alone, as well as hundreds of masks, gowns and cleaning supplies from local colleges and high schools including: Swarthmore College, Haverford College, Villanova University, La Salle University, Little Flower High School and Jack M. Barack Hebrew Academy.

It has been inspiring to see how many different businesses and industries have come together - for instance the Delaware River Basin commission and various greenhouses and botanical gardens have volunteered their respirators, Tyvek suits, face shields and gloves for the fight against COVID-19; and individual family restaurants have put forth thousands of gloves.”

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Stephanie Javier- Fagbemi, Class of 2021
PPE2PHL - Philadelphia Organization of Health Professional Students

“PPE2PHL is a branch of the Philadelphia Organization of Health Professional Students that was created to support our mentors, teachers, friends, and colleagues across the city of Philadelphia. We are collaborating with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health to ensure that the donations we receive are being distributed equitably across all of the federally-approved health facilities in the area.”

Vittoria Boni, Class of 2021

"In response to quarantined individuals wanting to contribute fabric masks, my boyfriend and I made a website for easy hand-sewn instructions using supplies you already have at home. We update it with new instructions whenever there are innovations in the sewing community. In addition, I have been working with the Global Response Management Organization. We are working to collect fabric masks for asylum seekers living in camps outside of Matamoros, Mexico to curb the spread of COVID-19. The community has limited medical resources, and they will be hit hard by the pandemic. Our goal is to collect 5,000 fabric masks. I work specifically on advertising for the campaign, fine-tuning mask construction instructions and answering questions from our volunteers.”

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Student Volunteer Organization Leadership

Ellie Volpicelli and Alexandra Myers, Class of 2021
Philadelphia Organization of Health Professions Students

"During this uncertain time, we want to assure students that there is hope and there is help. We created the Philadelphia COVID-19 Resource to help students navigate this rapidly evolving situation. The goals of this resource are: To inform the general public of volunteer opportunities available to assist healthcare workers and vulnerable populations in Philadelphia during this time of need; To procure blood, PPE, and monetary donations for individuals, companies, and hospitals in Philadelphia affected by the COVID-19 pandemic; To promote health education, wellness resources, community support programs, and relief funds available for residents living in Philadelphia."

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Atilio Atencio, Class of 2021
Puentes de Salud, Student Chair

"I'm the Student Chair at Puentes de Salud, a clinic that serves the Latino immigrant community of Philadelphia. I have the privilege of leading the Puentes coordinators in charge of the clinic's many facets including education programming, arts and culture initiatives, and patient management. Since the start of the pandemic, we have been able to organize telehealth sessions with our patients and have established a new schedule with our providers, patients, and interpreters. We also have a small group of providers on a rotating schedule doing house calls for our patients who need it most. We have also started a WhatsApp with families involved in our education program where we post daily updates on COVID-19 and free resources ranging from food to legal advice. We have spoken on local Latino radio stations promoting CDC guidelines and answering questions. But what I'm most proud of accomplishing so far as a clinic is starting a check-in call system where volunteers call patients to check in on them in an effort to establish their food security, economic sufficiency, and healthcare needs while providing a list of city resources available for their use. I must admit that everything the clinic has been able to do is because of an incredible team effort from everyone involved. I have only had a small part in everything this amazing clinic has been able to put together."

Amanda Pirola, Class of 2023
Temple Emergency Action Corps. (TEAC) Activities

"As TEAC president, my role has been to help streamline student volunteer efforts to have the greatest positive impact on our communities and to reduce stress on healthcare workers. In the past few weeks I’ve served as a liaison between the students and administration, sent out a needs assessment of physicians working on the frontline, and worked with my peers to create solutions. I will also be assisting with volunteer coordination for the Liacouras Center medical surge facility. It has been humbling and inspiring to work so closely with my peers and other students around Philadelphia during this unprecedented time. I’m looking forward to collaborating with the Temple COVID-19 Student Service Board and encouraging TEAC and the student body to get involved with the amazing projects our community has started. We are more powerful if we’re all working towards the same goal."

Abrar AlAbdulhadi, Class of 2020
mentOWL Health at Temple

"My goal/work has been two-fold: restoring a sense of purpose within the student body and to give students a sense of connection/community within this time of social isolation. In order to do that, I have been working with the Office of Student Affairs and student mentors/OWLs to break students up into “nests” consisting of groups of M1-M4s to encourage vertical camaraderie and check-in. We’ve also created wellness Zoom sessions for students to enjoy virtual cooking classes, workout classes, Spanish lessons, meditation and art. I am proud of all the great work my fellow Temple Owls are doing. It speaks to the mission of Temple University and restores my faith in humanity during these uncertain and scary times!”

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Bryan Kim, Class of 2021
COVID Student Service Board 

""The COVID Student Service Board was created so students could advocate and play an important role in addressing the #COVID19 pandemic. We wanted to create a central hub where we could collect all the different opportunities to serve the community, support local efforts, and take lead in different LKSOM-based projects. We meet weekly (virtually) to share different opportunities and to make sure that we are allocating enough time and resources to the different projects available."

Tutoring and Childcare Services for Healthcare Professionals

Hayoung Youn, Class of 2021

"A few days into my quarantined life, I got a call from a Temple faculty member who had heard about medical students volunteering during this pandemic. She expressed her stress and concerns about not being able to provide her kids with the help they need on their online assignments. After a long day at the hospital taking care of COVID-19 patients, the last thing she wanted to see, was her children with their unfinished homework. Shortly after that call, some students and I got together to start a virtual tutoring program. This, we thought, would be the safest and most efficient way for students like us to help those on the frontline. Just within a few days, we gathered close to 80 student volunteers from various health professional schools in Philadelphia. We have officially launched our program and received our first few requests for virtual tutoring sessions. With the number of volunteers growing by the day and with the help from the city to provide laptops to students in need, we hope to expand this service to anyone who can benefit from it - both healthcare professionals and non-healthcare professionals. I am so incredibly amazed how everyone is stepping up to find their role in this pandemic. I am proud to be a part of this fight, and I hope that our program will help lessen the burden of those affected.”

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Nicole Katz, Class of 2021
Healthcare Workers Childcare Co-op, Philadelphia Coordinator

"I have partnered with a few other medical students to create a resource that provides childcare for healthcare workers affected by COVID-19 school closures and increased work hours. Healthcare Workers Childcare Co-op matches graduate and undergraduate student volunteers to healthcare workers in need in Philadelphia, St. Louis, New Hampshire, and Vermont, with plans to expand further. I serve as the Philadelphia Coordinator for these efforts. With successful matches already underway, Healthcare Workers Childcare Co-op is thrilled to be able to do a small part to help the healthcare community during these challenging times.”

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Hotline Volunteering

Jake Kieserman, Class of 2021

“Volunteering at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) call center for the coronavirus hotline is extremely important to me. I’m inspired by all the doctors and nurses who are working tirelessly for their patients during this difficult time, and I want to help in any way that I can. At the call center, I answer a wide range of inquiries. Some people call for general information on the coronavirus while others call with symptoms which I need to triage. Whether I’m advising someone to self-isolate or to go to the emergency room, I’m putting my medical knowledge to good use while supporting the Philadelphia community during this global pandemic.”