UW-Eau Claire health care program donated personal protection equipment

Unused personal protective equipment was given to local health facilities in need

Grace Olson

More stories from Grace Olson

Student speaks
November 17, 2021
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“They know that something serious is happening and they were happy to know that these supplies would help the doctors and nurses stay safe,” Coolidge said.

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, many hospitals are in need of personal protective equipment to continue their work. 

According to the World Health Organization, personal protective equipment is in great demand but the supplies are greatly decreasing. 

Luckily, for Chippewa Valley health facilities, UW-Eau Claire health programs were able to donate unused personal protective equipment due to a canceled event. UW-Eau Claire’s Continuing Education department usually holds a Foot and Nail clinic twice a year. 

Kayla Piper, the program manager, said nurses travel from around the United States to take place in this event. 

We have nurses who travel in from all over the country to provide foot care for up to 700 elderly and disabled community members,” Piper said, “many of whom do not have access to this care outside of our clinics.”

The personal protective equipment that would have been used for the event did not go to waste. One hundred N95 masks and 300 gloves were given to Mayo Clinic and Sacred Heart, which will utilize them in their emergency rooms, Piper said. 

Not only were these masks given to local health facilities, but some were given to UW-Eau Claire workers and programs. 

Forty N95 masks were given to UW-Eau Claire custodial staff and five packages of Clorox wipes and 15 bottles of hand sanitizer were given to the Advising, Retention and Career Center and Blugold Central, Piper said. 

Adam Coolidge, a Continuing Education associate, was able to deliver these donations with help from his three children. 

Coolidge said the Continuing Education office has worked with both Mayo Clinic and Sacred Heart in the past, so he said it felt good to support them.

“Our office has partnered with Mayo and Sacred Heart on a number of programs over the years, so it was nice that we can support them in a time of need,” Coolidge said. 

Coolidge said his three children — ages 8, 4, and 2 years old — were eager to help. Despite their young age, they were still aware of the severity of the situation.

“They know that something serious is happening and they were happy to know that these supplies would help the doctors and nurses stay safe,” Coolidge said.

Lisa Schiller, a certified nurse practitioner and a Chippewa Valley Free Clinic board member, was grateful to receive some extra supplies. 

“A student had donated them to our program and we planned to use them for a clinical where we work with immigrant farmworkers,” Schiller said. “The free clinic staff was very grateful to receive them.”

Piper said she was glad to be able to give back to the community even though it came from canceling the Foot and Nail program. 

Piper said she is thankful for the support from the Continuing Education department and Blugold Central to be able to donate the equipment. 

It was incredible to have the institutional support to donate supplies,” Piper said, “even when we knew we were going to be losing revenue. It is truly a community focused department.” 

Olson can be reached at [email protected].