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McMaster med students throw support behind frontline health care workers

More than 100 have stepped up to the plate, offering to babysit and run errands for hospital staff in their community.
By: Greggory Clark
March 20, 2020
Leaders of the McMaster Health care Student COVID-19 Response Team: Mary Boulos (left), Francis Lao (top) and Mackenzie Stoness (bottom). Photos by Mary Boulos, Mackenzie Stoness and Francis Lao)

Eager to combat feelings of “helplessness” amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a group of med school students at McMaster University are volunteering to serve health care providers in their community. Mass closures across Canada, aiming to slow the spread of the virus, have left many healthcare workers in the lurch when it comes to taking care of their families and pets.

130 students and counting have stepped up to the plate, offering to babysit, petsit, and grocery shop for frontline hospital staff across the Greater Hamilton Area, Niagara Region, and Waterloo. Classes have moved online, so the hard-working students are doing it all on top of coursework and exam prep.

The grassroots initiative, led by McMaster student Mary Boulos, offers separate signup forms for those in search of or offering support. Health care workers are matched with volunteers who meet their availability and service needs.

Boulos and her classmates found inspiration from peers at Western University in London, Dalhousie University in Halifax, and UBC Medicine in Vancouver. It’s a student movement likely to sweep the country.

While a followup tweet described the response from fellow med students as “PHENOMENAL” there remains a significant need for volunteers experienced in childcare. Boulos encourages students from across health sciences, from nursing to midwifery, to join the charge.

“We saw this as an opportunity to really step up… to help people on the frontlines,” Boulos said.

Sources: CBC Hamilton, Twitter

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