Coronavirus: Med students help frontline workers with daily life

Boonshoft School of Medicine white coats.

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Boonshoft School of Medicine white coats.

A team of medical students at the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine is taking on many roles outside of their school work to help keep life running smoothly for health care providers fighting COVID-19.

The effort pairs physicians and health care providers with medical students available to babysit, dog walk, run errands or assist with childcare.

Matthew Lovell, student council president of the class of 2021 and Ashley Brent, student council vice president of the class of 2021, had the idea to organize the program in March.

“We were in touch since the onset of all of this, just thinking about ways we can support the students first of all and keep everyone informed,” Brent said. “But then beyond that, what can we do for the community because we’re no longer on rotations.

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For a lot of the medical students, Brent said, a big part of daily life is going out to help people. For that to be taken away suddenly due to the coronavirus pandemic, it was a hard adjustment. As student leaders, Lovell and Brent knew they needed to find a way to put students back in a position to serve others.

Lovell and Brent are volunteers themselves but spend most time making sure that the needs of others are met.

“While Ashley and I may volunteer and do some of the groundwork for these programs, the majority of our time is spent coordinating and making sure that we are getting medical students into positions so they can continue to make a positive impact,” Lovell said.

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The two biggest areas the student volunteers have been helping with are childcare and tutoring.

“All these kiddos are home from school and parents have suddenly become teachers and they’re still being nurses and physicians,” Brent said.

Brent and Lovell work daily to match the student volunteers with families in need based on availability and what subjects the students feel comfortable teaching or helping with. The feedback has been very positive and parents have been pleased with the experience, Brent said.

“We felt that while we were not able to be in the hospitals or clinics at this time, that medical students could still contribute to work that is and will be done by the physicians on the front lines,” Lovell said. “All of the medical students have been eager to get involved and help out their communities in any way that they can.”

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