The University of Texas at Dallas responded to the need for medical-grade protective gear by donating thousands of face masks and gloves to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas.
Vice President for Research Joseph Pancrazio said the university decided to donate the items to the hospital because it was its duty to the community as a public institution.
“We had supplies that would be otherwise sitting [around],” he said. “We felt it was a moral imperative to get it to health care providers on the front line, especially to our heroes at Parkland Hospital.”
UT Dallas has an abundance of these items because of the biomedical research done at the Tier 1 research university, Pancrazio said.
“The supplies are identical to what a health care provider would need,” he said.
The university hopes this will help with the shortage of masks and gloves caused by the skyrocket in sales spurred by coronavirus concerns, Pancrazio said.
“[The public is] really drawing a lot of resources ... that would ordinarily be available to the experts who can put it to use to protect the public,” he said. “We wanted to show a counter example where, instead of thinking about ourselves, we're thinking about our community.”
Additionally, UT Dallas is looking into other ways to help the community, according to Pancrazio. Staff at the university are considering building ventilators to ensure that hospitals are prepared for an increase in patients, Pancrazio said.
“We're still exploring different ways we can do things, but I think our best chance to support folks through engineering is going to be through increasing capacity of ventilators,” Pancrazio said.