Albert Wu, M.D., Baltimore CONNECT president, a practicing general internist at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and a professor of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, is assisting with an effort to provide 17 community-based organizations in East and Southeast Baltimore with protective gear through a donation of 10,750 basic ear loop face masks and 1,000 KN95 masks. The donation, meant to increase access to personal protective equipment for Baltimore residents, hopefully will help prevent spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, says Wu.
“Every week since March, during a weekly conference call, our collaborating organizations have asked about masks,” says Wu. “We heard repeatedly that people do not have adequate personal protective equipment. As a health care institution and a team of service organizations, our goal is to improve the health and well-being of our communities, and masks are an important way to keep people safe and well. As a result, we hope this donation leads to fewer people contracting COVID-19, which will also help prevent our health system from being overwhelmed.”
According to George Lavdas, J.D., senior director for international supply chain transformation at the Johns Hopkins Health System, Johns Hopkins received the masks from many generous donors. While the masks are medical grade, they did not meet the certifications necessary to be used as hospital supplies. So, with the assistance of Wu and the many organizations that are part of Baltimore CONNECT, the masks were distributed to residents in need. Baltimore CONNECT, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit comprised of community-based organizations and Johns Hopkins faculty and staff members, links social and health care services across Baltimore.