While Alabama has not been as impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic as many other states, as of May 1 there have been more than 7,000 cases and 272 deaths. Tuskegee University, the historically Black educational institution in Alabama is doing its part to battle the virus.
With the campus closed to students, university leaders and faculty pulled together more than 500 N95 masks, surgical masks, face shields, bonnets, shoe coverings, gloves, goggles, and protective gowns from labs across campus for use by Prime Care Medical Center in Tuskegee.
Deloris Alexander, an associate professor and director of Tuskegee’s integrative biosciences Ph.D. program, recognized the opportunity to address rural community PPE needs and to help frontline medical and emergency-response professionals remain safe. “This all started as part of the university’s Community Health Task Force, commissioned in the earliest days of the coronavirus to monitor and react to the virus’ spread,” explained Dr. Alexander, who is also a Tuskegee native and university alumna. “We saw a need to partner with our community during this pandemic and noted that donating PPE would have a dramatic impact on preventing the virus’ spread.”
“In a time when the relevance and need for historically Black colleges and universities has been questioned by state and federal leaders, Tuskegee is working to fulfill for its neighbors and the broader healthcare infrastructure its land-grant mission focused on service,” added Ruby L. Perry, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine.