News: Researchers donate critical protective equipment to health care workers

Collage of photos of boxes of donated PPE. Note on top that reads: Respirators for LHSC - We're forever grateful for your heroic labour

When researchers at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry learned that their colleagues in health care on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic were in need of donations of critical personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical supplies, they didn’t hesitate to contribute.

During the past three weeks, scientists and educators from more than 50 different labs across campus, including those from Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, Science, Ivey and Engineering, have donated more than 5,000 surgical masks, nearly 1,200 N95 respirators, 100,000 pairs of gloves, as well as head covers, gowns and other protective equipment.

“The contributions of PPE from dozens of research labs and from our teaching labs are a reflection of the appreciation of our academic community for frontline health care workers and the desire to support their selfless efforts,” said David Litchfield, Vice Dean, Research & Innovation at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, who originally sent out the call to research labs for donations.

Just before the long weekend, the items were picked up on campus and delivered to London Health Sciences Centre’s Healthcare Materials Management Services (HMMS) to be distributed to those who need it most.

“I am happy to report that our donation is now in the hands of HMMS and will soon be protecting our health care workers on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Kevin Inchley, Associate Director of Facilities at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry who coordinated pick-up of the donated PPE through the London Health Sciences Foundation. “On the second pick-up stop of the day at the Chemistry Building, the van was so full that the driver had to go back and pick up another van.”

Richard Gibson, the Director of Schulich Medicine & Dentistry’s ImPaKT Facility, was charged with keeping inventory of all of the donations and says the labs that still need the supplies to conduct ongoing work, like the team working on a COVID-19 vaccine in the level 3 ImPaKT facility, kept back enough supplies to continue their work.

He says with most labs slowing down their research programs, there is a surplus in supplies, and the response to the call-out was phenomenal.

“It’s pretty remarkable. I’m still getting emails from labs and researchers across the University asking what is needed and what they can do to help,” he said.

Neil Johnson, Chief Operating Officer, London Health Sciences Centre said they are so thankful for the support of their partners during these challenging times.

“London Health Sciences Centre is grateful to our longstanding partners at Western University for the donation of much-welcomed supplies as we continue to respond to the COVID-19 situation,” he said.