April 2, 2020

Protecting the Protectors: Alumni Help Local Hospitals

THE POWER OF NETWORKING: Bree Hemingway (MPH '11) (right) teamed with Kimberly Morones (MPH '14) (left) and a few others to make masks for local hospitals. The work was made possible with the help of fellow alum and UMakers owner Rob Perhamus (EMBA '03).

In short supply of personal protective equipment (PPE), healthcare professionals everywhere face an ongoing dilemma in the current pandemic: How can they protect us when they can’t protect themselves first?

“I’d been hearing in the news that healthcare workers were running low on PPE,” says Bree Hemingway (MPH, ’11), assistant director of the Master of Public Health Program at CGU. “So I contacted my nurse friends at Pomona Valley Hospital. They said they definitely needed more.”

Hemingway, whose evaluation expertise in the public health sector led to a Distinguished Alumni Award in 2019, decided to act.

Enter UMakers, an aptly-named “starter for startups” founded by Drucker alumnus Rob Perhamus (EMBA, ’03). The maker-space prides itself on its community of freelancers, artists, engineers, and other makers who use digital design and fabrication tools to bring their ideas to life.

An Instagram post showcasing their supply of plastic facemasks led Hemingway to reach out to UMakers, and Perhamus generously obliged by donating to the cause.

A shortage of face masks in area hospitals has resulted in a much-needed collaboration by some of our alumni.

Hemingway called up fellow alumna and Pomona resident Kimberly Morones (MPH, ’14) and a few others to piece together the masks. “A lot of stores were out of basic materials, especially elastic bands, so we had to get creative,” Hemingway says. The team used headbands for the elastic and foam padding so that the shields will fit any forehead.

The team formed an assembly line, making sure to keep physically distant while sanitizing frequently. The result? More than 100 face shields made and donated to Pomona Valley Hospital.

“After we posted on social media, other local hospitals reached out asking if we had more supplies,” Hemingway says, thanking UMakers for supporting the effort. “This is an ongoing process. We plan on making more.”

  • Read other CGU Heroes stories:

Professor Javad Fadardi’s experiences in Iran

Doctoral student Chris Freeland’s efforts in one SoCal city