On Saturday morning, students in the Physician Assistant Medicine program at the University of Lynchburg showed care not only for their future patients but for the Virginia community at large.
Outside a warehouse near campus, approximately 60 students packaged 37 pallets worth of personal protective equipment including surgical gloves, masks, gowns, and N95 masks into medium-size boxes. The boxes will be distributed to nearly 700 primary care facilities in the commonwealth, including student health centers at colleges and universities.
The distribution is part of Gov. Ralph Northam’s task force on primary care of which Dr. Jeremy Welsh, dean and chair of the School of PA Medicine and senior associate dean of the College of Health Sciences, is a member.
The task force is a partnership with the Virginia Center for Health Innovation and Virginia’s Secretary of Health and Human Resources. It was created in response to reports from primary care physicians that the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in layoffs and financial hardship at their practices.
Welsh said the task force was looking for a site that could receive a large amount of PPE and distribute it to the various primary care centers. The University of Lynchburg happily volunteered. Welsh attended the event Saturday to help package the boxes.
“It’s important we are hosting because it shows that our program and PAs are part of the health care system, and I think it’s a great opportunity for our students to have some service learning during COVID which, unfortunately, was heavily restricted,” he said.
PA medicine student Cory Crabtree ’22 was one of those students who looked forward to the community service opportunity. “I think it’s a good opportunity to show our leadership skills and our willingness to help. Like not just take care of patients and people from a medical standpoint, but overall with care,” he said.