SIUH staff members display some of the PPEs that they received. (Photo credit: Phuong Nguyen)

Two alumnae from the College of Staten Island and the Center for Global Engagement, one near San Jose, CA and the other on Staten Island, connected to achieve something very special during these difficult times—providing area medical facilities with much-needed Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis.

It began when Qimei Luo ’11, Head of Marketing and PR at Lino Network in Cupertino, CA, took it upon herself to fundraise among her friends and connections on social media to secure the equipment from Asia, which includes N95 masks, so that it could be redirected to medical facilities in the U.S. that desperately needed them.

Winnie Brophy of CSI’s Center for Global Engagement learned of Luo’s initiative via social media and connected Luo with Phuong Nguyen ’04, ’08, a nurse at Staten Island University Hospital (SIUH) North Division-Northwell Health. Nguyen then contacted her supervisors who okayed receipt of 3,000 PPE. If there is continued need at SIUH, Luo will continue to work with Nguyen to forward additional supplies.

Besides SIUH, thanks to Luo’s efforts, South Beach Psychiatric Center gained 900 masks and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in Manhattan received 1,000 masks. Luo also secured masks for Montefiore Medical Center ICU in the Bronx and the Lehigh Valley Health Network in PA.

One of the professionals to directly benefit from these efforts is Robert Miller ‘11, a social worker aide at South Beach Psychiatric who is also a Center for Global Engagement alumnus. He commented that “It’s been a tremendous help to have the support of CSI alumni. Qimei has been running around getting thousands of masks donated across the country! I’m so thankful for her and all of her donors coming together at a time like now to make sure hospital workers have the protection they need to do their jobs. Its inspiring to see so many examples of compassion right now!

Commenting on the efforts of Luo and Nguyen, Brophy said, “I am very proud of our CSI alumni, Phuong and Qimei helping each other over 3,000 miles away. I am proud of their initiatives of helping each other, especially since I knew them since they were freshmen. It always makes you feel good when you know you’re helping. It is wonderful to find how ordinary people are working together to do extraordinary things. It doesn’t matter how big or how small!”

Luo has raised more than $40,000 toward this effort and has supplied PPE not only to medical institutions in NYC, but also in Los Angeles and MA. She continues to raise funds to keep this effort going.

By Terry Mares