DC-area health student volunteers assist coronavirus pandemic response

Hundreds of D.C.-area medical students that are attending their classes virtually have become a part of a larger network of health profession students aiding the coronavirus pandemic response.

The National Student Response Network (NSRN) has group of nearly 500 health profession students across the D.C. region available to help area hospitals, health departments, health-associated nonprofits and nursing facilities, according to spokesman Jinye Liu.

The group has primarily been working at coronavirus testing sites, delivering equipment and supplies, but the student network has also helped out in other ways throughout D.C., Virginia and Maryland.

“We’ve worked with organizations to manufacture and deliver PPE kits to Johns Hopkins (hospital) and also done stuff like work on contact tracing with the Caroline County Health Department, which is also in Maryland,” Liu said.

NSRN has helped low-income D.C. residents get temperature checks at the nonprofit So Others Might Eat as well, Liu said.

The network was started by four medical students from Harvard University and one medical student from Mt. Sinai in March and expanded across the U.S., according to communications and social media director Urja Merchant, who is a second year medical student at Campbell University in North Carolina.

“They saw a need for individuals with health-related experience when COVID cases started increasing exponentially,” said Merchant.

She said the response by students to help out has been great.

“Health professions students are more than eager and willing to find opportunities through us and organizations have also wanted to continue working with us, so that must mean we are doing something right,” said Merchant.

The network has been coordinating with medical students, nursing students, physician assistant and public health students. The group said it is working on adding a division of undergrad students on a pre-health track as well.

Organizations in need of volunteers can submit an online form.

Health profession student interested in volunteering can sign up online.

More Coronavirus News

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

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