As shocking stories of the drastic need for PPE at nearby hospitals flood every media channel, New York Tech faculty are finding ways to heed the call to support healthcare workers on the front line.
When Eve Armstrong, Ph.D., assistant professor of physics, heard the reports in mid-March, she spoke with her sister and brother-in-law, who are in the medical field, and felt compelled to do something to help support New York Presbyterian Hospital, where she had volunteered as a graduate student.
She quickly reached out to Dean Daniel Quigley, Ph.D., and her colleagues in NYIT College of Arts and Sciences to inventory what was available in labs on the New York City and Long Island campuses that could be donated to the cause. Word of the outreach quickly spread to Dean Babak Beheshti, Ph.D., and faculty in NYIT College of Engineering and Computing Sciences.
Michael Hadjiargyrou, Ph.D., professor and director of the D.O./Ph.D. program, responded immediately as did several faculty in the College of Engineering and Computing Sciences. Armstrong, who lives in Manhattan, made a plan for a quick, safe pick-up on Long Island, and on March 27, Quigley and Karen Wolff, executive assistant, facilitated her pick-up of 50 boxes of gloves and 20 goggles from Hadjiargyrou, which were donated to New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center in Manhattan. That department also donated 25 boxes of gloves, a dozen N95 masks, and 20 goggles to Huntington Hospital on Long Island. Faiza Shah, senior technician in the Department of Biological and Chemical Sciences, gathered N95 masks, a face shield, and boxes of gloves for New York Presbyterian.
Armstrong’s husband Wayne, who works in the theater industry, gathered N95 masks, goggles, re-useable masks with filters, and face shields from a supply of protective gear that was used during set construction at PunchDrunk NYC, a theatre company that runs the off-Broadway show Sleep No More.
Following hospital directives not to reach out to the emergency room directly, Armstrong drove to the designated drop-off location at New York Presbyterian expecting a mob of people but there were no mobs. She gave one of the two staff members on hand the New York Tech PPE donations.
Later in the day, she returned with another delivery, and a security guard advised her to bring the materials to the ER where supplies are needed most. The security guard explained the situation at the ER front desk, and a flurry of doctors soon ran in to meet him, as Armstrong watched from outside. “One of the doctors ran outside to return my hand truck. I think he was crying. He thanked me umpteen times as he ran backwards back inside,” she says. “The looks on the ER doctors’ faces when they learned I had face shields … I believe I will remember those looks for the rest of my life.”