STILLWATER, Okla. — The coronavirus pandemic has caused international shortages of critical personal protective equipment. People around the world are responding to significant needs by donating gloves, masks, face shields and other necessary supplies to help keep health care professionals, patients and families safe during these unprecedented times.
Divya Jaroni, a food microbiologist for the Oklahoma State University Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products and professor in the department of animal and food sciences, wanted to help and pitched the idea of starting a drive to collect PPE supplies throughout the OSU Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.
“As researchers, especially those in the health business, we do have supplies of PPE items in our labs,” Jaroni said. “If each member even donates one box of gloves, masks or disposable lab coats, we can have plenty of supplies to donate.”
After Jaroni shared her idea, Tom Coon, Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources vice president, followed up with e-mails to department heads and unit administrators, supporting the donation of supplies, and within one day, two truckloads of PPE supplies were collected and delivered to University Health Services on campus for use to local health care providers.
“Dr. Jaroni came up with a simple idea, and it was immediately obvious that it was a great idea,” Coon said. “As the idea spread among a few people, we jumped on it and by 2:30 on the same afternoon, Jane Carpenter from the dean’s office had gathered two carloads of personal protective equipment from our departments for the Stillwater area health care community.”
In addition to Jaroni, Peter Muriana, FAPC food microbiologist and professor in the department of animal and food sciences, was one of the many who donated supplies.
Because of the severity of the COVID-19 crisis and the PPE shortage the state is experiencing,
Muriana donated several items from his lab, including N-95 masks leftover from a previous project.
“It’s great to have faculty leaders willing to say ‘hey, why don’t we do something,’” Coon said. “Thanks to Dr. Jaroni and all of our colleagues in OSU agriculture, we made a difference.”
Jaroni said donating bio-hazard bags, gloves and masks from her lab was the least she could do as a citizen.
“I felt it was important to donate because we are going through an extreme crisis, as a nation, where medical personnel and health care professionals are in dire need of PPE to protect themselves and be able to continue their work, against COVID-19,” she said.
FAPC, a part of the OSU Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, helps to discover, develop and deliver technical and business information that stimulates and supports the growth of value-added food and agricultural products and processing in Oklahoma.
— Oklahoma State University
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