The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted numerous efforts aimed at making sure medical personnel and first responders have the equipment they need to do their jobs effectively while staying protected from the disease.
One such initiative in Knoxville is East Tennessee Chinese/Chinese American Care (ETCCAC), a group co-founded by individuals from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; Oak Ridge National Laboratory; and members of the local community to support local hospitals, first responders, senior living facilities, and the service industry.
With the help of almost 200 volunteers across the region, the group has delivered nearly 30,000 items of personal protective equipment to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, Knoxville Police Department, UT Medical Center, UT’s Student Health Center, UT AgResearch, UPS Stores, Covenant Health of East Tennessee (which manages 11 hospitals in Knoxville and surrounding areas), senior living facilities, homeless shelters, and COVID-19 testing sites in Knoxville, Oak Ridge, and Maryville, as well as to other organizations in East Tennessee.
The team also has raised nearly $12,000 for the Knox County COVID-19 Response Fund organized by United Way of Greater Knoxville, the Alliance for Better Nonprofits, and the East Tennessee Foundation.
In collecting the gear, the group took the extra precaution of trying to make most of its purchases outside the country.
“If we had purchased them here, we might have inadvertently competed with our community and health care providers who need these items,” said Rachel Rui, ETCCAC’s main founder, who is the communications director and director of Asia engagement for the Center for Global Engagement at UT. “Our group has been very mindful when trying to source donation items.”
ETCCAC is open to members of the local community who are interested in helping obtain PPE to meet the area’s needs.
Other members of the group from UT include Chien-Fei Chen, volunteer and director of education and diversity, Center for Ultra-Wide-Area Resilient Electric Energy Transmission Networks (CURENT); Yuanyang Liu, volunteer and assistant professor of business analytics; Hailong Lyu, volunteer and postdoctoral student in chemistry; Daisy Shen, volunteer and coordinator of Asia engagement for UT’s Center for Global Engagement; Qi Sun, co-founder and associate professor of educational psychology and counseling; Dan Wang, volunteer and distinguished lecturer in the Chinese language program; Siqun Wang, volunteer and professor of forestry, wildlife, and fisheries; Zheng Wei, co-founder and associate professor of business analytics and statistics; Fan Zhang, volunteer and postdoctoral student in nuclear engineering; Ling Zhao, volunteer and associate professor of nutrition; and Xiaopeng Zhao, volunteer and professor of mechanical, aerospace, and biomedical engineering.
Rachel Rui (865-974-5752, firstname.lastname@example.org)