Medical Students Continue to Stop the Spread with Mask Transit
School of Medicine (SOM) students were on hand to help distribute more than 10,000 mask kits to New York City youth organizations and schools on September 26.
Shreya Makkapati, right, School of Medicine (SOM) Class 2021 and New York City chapter co-director and fundraising chair of Mask Transit, and Sarriyah Hanif, SOM Class of 2023 and Mask Transit volunteer, along with medical students from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, were on hand to help distribute more than 10,000 mask kits to New York City youth organizations and schools on September 26. Mask Transit, a grassroots organization founded by medical students in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic helps distribute masks and educational materials.
At the start of the pandemic, Mask Transit volunteers enacted a swift, comprehensive and multi-faceted COVID-19 response to get masks and mask education to underserved populations in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 and minimize infection rates among marginalized communities. Mask Transit includes volunteers of medical and non-medical students across 20 institutions and has delivered 75,000 masks to more than 50 community organizations across ten cities.
For the September 26 event, Mask Transit worked in partnership with East Harlem Community Organizations Active in Disaster (EHCOAD) to distribute masks and educational materials to New York City-based youth organizations, schools and organizations serving pediatric patients in anticipation of the fall re-opening of schools. At pre-scheduled times, to allow social distancing, representatives from the organizations picked up masks and instructions on how to wear a mask, when to wear it and why it helps.
Organizations that received the mask kits included the Harriet Tubman Learning Center, DREAM Charter School, Union Settlement Association, Boriken Neighborhood Health Center, Art in the Park, Bronx Charter School for Better Learning, New York Psychotherapy and Counseling Center and St. Mary Margaret’s Religious Education program.
“In anticipation of schools re-opening, we hope distributing masks and educational material provides an extra layer of protection for essential workers and our youth population. By holding community events like this one, we hope to increase access to these masks,” said Ms. Makkapati.
“We want to make sure that no child is sent home from school for not being able to afford a mask. We hope for a safe re-opening for the students, teachers and all of the school staff,” said Ms. Hanif.