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Campus Life COVID-19

Worried About Healthcare Workers, Nursing Student Launches Mask Drive

Arranges for thousands of N95 masks to be delivered to CU Anschutz, clinics statewide

Author Guest Contributor | Publish Date April 22, 2020

Editor’s note: “Our COVID-19 Fighters” is an occasional series highlighting the ways the CU Anschutz Medical Campus community is helping patients and the wider community in the fight against the pandemic. We welcome your story ideas; please share them here.

When CU Nursing PhD student Brittni Goodwin, MSN, RN, realized there weren’t enough N95 masks for her colleagues at area hospitals, she went to work to get the needed supplies. Like many healthcare professionals, Goodwin felt the need to help co-workers who were being stretched so intensely during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“It’s a bit like survivor’s guilt. I felt I wasn’t doing enough,” said Goodwin.

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CU Nursing PhD student Brittni Goodwin, far left, launched a drive to collect N95 masks for use at area hospitals.

She started small by contacting local tattoo parlors and dental practices and got 150 surgical masks and other items. She then asked herself “How can I have a bigger impact?”

After reading articles that people were hoarding, she became concerned that healthcare workers would not have enough personal protection equipment (PPE) to protect themselves. So, she sent a message to Home Depot pleading with them to reserve the supply of N95 masks for healthcare workers.

“I didn’t expect anything,” said Goodwin, a PhD student in CU Nursing’s Caring Science program. The surprise came when Home Depot responded and asked her where she wanted them to deliver the masks.

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Helpers in the N95 collection drive outside a loading dock on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. 

Caught off guard, she provided them with her home address. Within days, she had 11,000 N95 masks in her garage. Not knowing where to distribute, she contacted Associate Professor Teri Hernandez, PhD, RN, Associate Dean for Research and Scholarship at CU College of Nursing to determine the best way to mobilize so most Colorado healthcare workers could have access to the supply.

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Dr. Hernandez got to work and arranged for 10,000 masks to be delivered to the CU Anschutz Medical Campus on April 6, where thousands of healthcare workers are employed by UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital and Children’s Hospital Colorado.

The remaining masks will be distributed to rural clinics in Colorado.

Guest contributor: Dana Brandorff, director of Marketing and Communications for the CU College of Nursing