A medical practitioner from California with an integrative osteopathic clinic and a style blogger with over 93 million YouTube views have joined forces to raise $100,000 for healthcare workers across the nation.
There is a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) in healthcare facilities as donations are desperately needed for healthcare workers to protect themselves, their patients and families.
Dr. Junella Chin and Wendy Nguyen have known each other for almost a year, collaborating and developing a CBD resource center via podcasts and other social platforms.
Nguyen is a juvenile justice advocate and content creator on YouTube as Wendy’s Lookbook, with more than 1.5 million followers across different social media platforms. She also graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in psychology.
Dr. Chin has also practiced medicine in California for 15 years and has an integrative osteopathic clinic focused on children with intractable epilepsy, cancer and autism.
Their focus changed in light of the recent health crisis.
“Dr. June has close friends and peers in the medical community that were being directly impacted by COVID-19,” Nguyen said. “It became a personal mission to help as much as we could.”
They created a GoFundMe page, raising just over $5,000 of their $100,000 goal at the time of writing. All donations will go directly to the delivery of medical masks, N95 masks, surgical gowns, protective coverall suits and PPE for frontline healthcare workers in New York City hospitals and medical clinics. Other locations including Los Angeles and Boston will also be given donations, with further proceeds going to hospitals on their waiting list.
Many hospitals have reached out to them, Nguyen said, but they are unfortunately unable to meet the high demand.
“We try our very best to prioritize hospitals in underserved areas and in POCcommunities,” they said. “If we can not assist a particular hospital and their needs are urgent, we reach out to other GoFundMe campaigns to see if they have supplies ready to disburse right away. Most of the time, they also have a waiting list.”
The pair said they have already received many heartbreaking messages.
“Most of them, if not all, the first thing they say is ‘For the record, let’s just keep all this off record because we all want to tell our stories but don’t want to get in trouble or fired for it,'” they said. “They deeply appreciate all of the public support and communities coming together to help.”
Nguyen said she was terrified about the first breaking news of the virus.
“The worst thing about this virus is that you start living in fear of other people as well,” she said. “I didn’t want to go and make medical deliveries alone, didn’t want to go to the grocery store alone.”
Dr. Chin believes that the Asian American community is best equipped to answer the question of whether the world needs to be more connected.
“We can be the leaders to collaborate on these global questions and be a force for positive social change,” she said. “We are not merely providing PPE and helping health care workers. This relief project is giving our healthcare system the ability to handle the cases as they occur and manage our health care capacity. Obviously, PPEs prevent transmission and allows health providers to take care of the sick.”
Chin and Nguyen explained how the lack of supplies to the frontline healthcare workers and medical teams has become a distribution issue.
“[The nurses’] medical supplies and PPE needs require a faster response time and mobilization that the current system is not prepared for. States are bidding against each other for medical supplies and equipment,” they continued. “We had clear warning signs and evidence that the virus is out there and very infectious and can quickly spread outside of China. We don’t have the infrastructure in place to prepare for something like this. We don’t have a well-funded pandemic preparedness program. In January, China sequenced (fingerprinted) the virus. This would have been a great time to start developing tests in the US or take the tests that other countries have developed.”
The duo says we are all in this together, as this is an “unprecedented time that requires nontraditional responses.”
“With all of this chaos, our frontline health care workers are the ones paying the price,” they said. “We’re bypassing the traditional distribution chain and meeting the needs of the health care workers directly.”
Feature Images Courtesy of Dr. Junella Chin (left) and Wendy Nguyen (right)
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