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May 4, 2020

Supporting Our Heroes: Adelphi Delivers Masks, Gloves and Hazmat Suits to New York Hospitals

Students wearing hazmat suits that were later donated to New York hospitals by Adelphi’s Environmental Studies and Sciences program.

Inspired by the emotional news coverage of victims of the COVID-19 crisis and touching pleas for supplies from stressed doctors, nurses and staffs, Adelphi’s College of Nursing and Public Health, along with the University’s science departments, delivered all their personal protective equipment (PPE) to embattled hospitals in the New York area.

By the time Adelphi sent its final shipment of equipment on March 31, the number of COVID-19 cases had soared to nearly 75,800 in New York state and more than 43,000 in the New York City hot zone.

“We have given all the PPE we have,” said Anthony Egan, director of Adelphi’s Clinical Education and Simulation Lab. “The frontline workers in this pandemic need this equipment.” With Adelphi students taking classes remotely, he noted, “Our supplies did no one any good sitting in an unused lab.”

The donations are going to good use, according to many of the Adelphi alumni serving on healthcare’s front lines. “We know firsthand just how invaluable these supplies are during this crisis,” said Caitlin McElroy, special assistant to the dean of the College of Nursing and Public Health. “We wanted to provide support any way we could.”

Ammunition for Those on Healthcare’s Front Lines

The College of Nursing and Public Health sent about 130 boxes and 20 cases of much-needed supplies, including 440 N95 particulate surgical respirator masks, 900 surgical and procedure masks, 1,930 synthetic surgical gloves, and 22,000 nitrile exam gloves. Additional boxes and cases contained surgical gowns, bouffant caps and shoe covers.

The University’s biology, chemistry, and environmental studies and sciences departments gave their PPE as well. Maggie Yoon Grafer ’99, MA ’08, Adelphi’s chief of staff and associate vice president for external relations, and Cara Terzulli, deputy to the provost, coordinated the efforts, with help from the Department of Public Safety and Transportation.

Andrea Ward, PhD, chair of the Department of Biology, said, “I had seen several news stories requesting PPE. Since we had just received our once-per-semester delivery of gloves, I knew we had inventory that could be shared and let the provost’s office know.”

“I am glad we were able to quickly repurpose our gloves and send them where they are critically needed,” said Brian Stockman, PhD, chair of the chemistry department. Chemistry contributed 19,000 nitrile gloves of various sizes, he said. “We order gloves for our teaching labs twice each year, and we had just received an order right before the campus was closed down.”

Brian T. Wygal, PhD, Environmental Studies and Sciences program director, said that his department’s PPE materials are used in a course called Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response—a class that “certifies people to assist with OSHA [Occupational Safety and Health Administration]-related contamination and cleanup of hazardous materials.” Those materials included 20 full hazmat suits, two portable decontamination showers and more than 10 “very high-end respirators—better than N95s— with extra filters that we use to train our students.”

PPE from the Environmental Studies and Sciences program await delivery.

Adelphi Heroes Are Serving, Too

Dean Elaine Smith ’78, MS ’88, EdD, emphasized that the College of Nursing and Public Health’s help extends well beyond PPE. More than 200 students and faculty members have volunteered since Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York issued a call for assistance. That’s in addition to faculty, alumni and students already working on the COVID-19 front lines. For instance, there’s Ethan Bravin ’19, a registered nurse at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York, who posted a message on Facebook, saying that he would visit patients to help families FaceTime with them “before my shift starts or after my shift ends.”

Adelphi is helping in other ways as well. The Panther Pantry continues to provide food to vulnerable members of our community through online orders. The Office of International Services is helping students unable to return home stay in touch with families through its Chat Around the Globe service. The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is offering virtual Open House office hours, and the Center for Student Involvement conducts weekly CommuniTEA chats. The Parenting Institute now offers the Parenting Warmline (516.515.1948) to answer nonemergency coronavirus-related questions and concerns from families and caregivers of young children. Other Adelphi offices, departments and organizations as well are developing still other ways to provide help to those who need it. And enterprising students are coming up with their own initiatives, from making face masks to tutoring students.


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About Adelphi: A modern metropolitan university with a personalized approach to higher learning

Adelphi University, New York, is a highly awarded, nationally ranked, powerfully connected doctoral research university dedicated to transforming students’ lives through small classes with world-class faculty, hands-on learning and innovative ways to support academic and career success. Adelphi offers exceptional liberal arts and sciences programs and professional training, with particular strength in our Core Four—Arts and Humanities, STEM and Social Sciences, the Business and Education Professions, and Health and Wellness.

Recognized as a Best College by U.S. News & World Report, Adelphi is Long Island’s oldest private coeducational university. It serves almost 8,000 students at its beautiful main campus in Garden City, New York—just 23 miles from New York City’s cultural and internship opportunities—and at dynamic learning hubs in Manhattan, the Hudson Valley and Suffolk County, as well as online. 

More than 116,000 Adelphi graduates have gained the skills to thrive professionally as active, engaged citizens, making their mark on the University, their communities and the world.

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