CHICAGO — Project N95, the National Clearinghouse for personal protective equipment (PPE), is donating 180,000 masks to Chicago-area non-profits to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, putting focus on providing masks within communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, including the Black, Latinx and LGBTQ communities.
“Since launching in the early days of the pandemic we have worked to protect as many people as possible by making access to vetted personal protective equipment more equitable,” said Project N95 Executive Director Anne Miller. “We’ve found that one of the most effective ways to accomplish that is through trusted partnerships. That’s why we reached out to the American Medical Association.”
Project N95 recently approached the American Medical Association (AMA) to help facilitate the distribution to communities that may have limited access to quality-certified PPE. Tapping into the expertise and networks of the AMA based on past collaborations, the six selected organizations have trusted relationships within their communities and will lead local distribution as vaccine rollout continues.
"Project N95 was a vital lifeline to physician practices at the height of the pandemic when PPE was hard to find and more needed than ever before,” said AMA CEO and Executive Vice President James L. Madara, M.D. “Although vaccine production and distribution are significantly ramped up, the danger of COVID-19 remains, and, therefore, so does the need for PPE and the public health measures we know stop the virus from spreading – washing hands, physical distancing, and wearing masks. With minoritized and marginalized people particularly hard hit by COVID-19, this PPE can help these communities, keep people safe, and save lives right here in Chicago.”
The following community-based organizations that support historically marginalized communities will receive the 180,000 ASTM-rated surgical mask donations:
- West Side United
- Erie Neighborhood House
- Mujeres Latinas en Accion
- Howard Brown Health
- La Casa Norte
As a largely volunteer-driven organization, Project N95 thoroughly vets and verifies the PPE carried in its Project N95 Shop. The team has delivered more than 6 million units of vetted PPE across the U.S. since May 2020. In addition to surgical masks the organization offers critical items like N95 and KN95 masks, face shields, isolation gowns, kid-sized masks, and surface disinfectants as well as COVID-19 diagnostic tests and test kits.
The AMA began collaborating with Project N95 during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic to provide AMA members with access to order quality-certified surgical N95 respirators, isolation gowns, and face shields. Through two campaigns, our collaboration helped to secure over 330,000 units of quality-certified PPE for thousands of physicians across the country who are working on the frontlines of the pandemic.
The AMA has been a leading national voice this past year raising concerns about the availability of PPE and urging the federal government to invoke the Defense Production Act to dramatically increase the availability of protective equipment for both physicians and their patients. Based on public health guidance, the AMA launched a #MaskUp campaign last year to urge Americans to wear masks, physically distance, and wash their hands as public health measures to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and thereby reduce illness and deaths.
The AMA has been supporting organizations across the Chicago area through numerous recent efforts including:
- A $2 million investment over two years in West Side United – aimed at closing health gaps and improving economic vitality in Chicago’s west side neighborhoods.
- In conjunction with the Langham Chicago, the AMA facilitated a donation of 10,000 masks to West Side United and the Detroit Medical Center.
- As part of their current work with three health care organizations on Chicago’s west side, the AMA and AHA recently provided 1,000 validated BP measurement devices and educational resources to patients with hypertension.
- Through AMA’s Enterprise Social Responsibility program, the AMA has donated $95,000 and supported over 90 organizations through volunteer activity. AMA employees also donated over $60,000 to support local food banks and free health clinics in Chicago’s west side.
- The AMA Foundation donated $100,000 to support patients and care teams working together to manage blood pressure (BP) in Chicago’s west side communities.
- The AMA’s Enterprise Social Responsibility program donated $10,000 to West Side United that helped support mask-making by Novias Davila, a dress shop located in the Little Village community, that produced 2,500 masks for distribution to moms across west side communities.
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