Health care workers nationwide have found themselves on the frontline of an unpredictable battle against the Coronavirus. Many Physicians families need help with child care now that day cares have closed or they need help with getting their children’s school work done since schools are also closed. Some have found that their doggie day care closed or their dog walker has quit and they need someone to take care of their animals, walk them or feed them since they can’t be home to do it themselves.
Now, medical students from the University of Minnesota (UMN) Medical School, Brown University, and Washington University in St. Louis have decided to lend a helping hand.
Minnesota and St. Louis communities were among the first to match medical students with Doctors who worked so hard saving lives that they couldn’t manage their everyday lives. The program was called Alpert Med Response Aid.
They had 50 requests for help, 90 students volunteering and from that, they made 20 matches to assist with babysitting, dog walking, grocery shopping and other needs.
The group of University of Minnesota (UMN) Medical School students call themselves the MN CovidSitters. The initiative pairs students with health care workers, including Doctors, Nurses, kitchen staff, janitors and hospital administrators, across the entire state.
Second year medical student, Sara Lederman told CNN, “As a medical student, it can be hard to feel so removed from everything that’s going on in the world. Even once you’re in the hospital, I think many medical students struggle to figure out how they can be most useful. One of the things that I hear my medical school peers ask a lot is ‘how can I help?’ With the Covid-19 outbreak, that question felt not only more relevant, but more urgent. And not only does it take a village, but it takes a brilliant, humble, determined village.”
Students are currently matching volunteers to families using a Google form, but the team is working on developing an app to automate the matching process.
The MN CovidSitters have inspired others to start similar initiatives. The group has been working with more than 20 other groups across the globe to help launch similar programs.
Angelina Omodt-Lopez, one of the administrators of MN CovidSitters said, “We hope that the resources we created will help others quickly establish similar programs. We also hope that once the app is created, it will be extremely efficient for other locations to implement this sort of program.”