UO launches donation drive for critical medical supplies

Nurse in surgical mask

Research departments across the UO are coming together to donate masks and other personal protective equipment to the University Health Center and Lane County Public Health to distribute to places with the highest need.

The inventory collection will also gather other medical supplies that may be needed given some of the shortages that have emerged nationwide due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

Andrew Lovering, a professor of human physiology, said the effort is designed to help medical providers throughout Lane County who are concerned they might have to treat patients without vital equipment in coming weeks and months.

“We’re looking at a situation where we could be sending providers into battle without guns or bullets,” he said.

Lovering said that his small department alone has already located 12,000 nonsterile gloves, 1,200 pairs of sterile gloves and hundreds of masks and surgical caps that can be donated, among other supplies.

“It seems kind of a no-brainer at this point that this stuff shouldn’t be sitting unused in a lab and that we should be getting it out to the people who need it,” he said.

The UO Incident Management Team is coordinating efforts to assess all current available inventory and is developing a strategy to collect and distribute the personal protective equipment and other supplies in a safe and efficient manner.

University faculty and staff members who would like to donate medical equipment and other supplies can complete this supply inventory form. Departments and faculty members can initially provide rough estimates of the amount of supplies they have to donate if they are uncertain of exact numbers. The incident management team will be in touch with the team member listed as the point-of-contact to coordinate pickups.

“We will make sure that the health center has what it needs to care for our students,” said Cass Moseley, senior associate vice president for research and innovation. “We also hope this drive can help with the increasing need for medical supplies locally and across the state.”

Additionally, the UO’s Office of Sustainability has been coordinating grassroots efforts to gather and donate personal protective equipment. This includes items from crafters sewing homemade masks to volunteers calling local businesses likely to have professionally made gear, such as tattoo parlors or acupuncturists. Find information about these efforts on the Office of Sustainability homepage.