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UTHSC Distributes Hand Sanitizer to Community Partners

UTHSC recently gave boxes of hand sanitizer manufactured on campus to its community partners. Pictured, from left, Michael Wiggins, from Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, Dr. Alisa Haushalter, from the Shelby County Health Department, and Dr. Reginald Coopwood from Regional One Health. UTHSC’s Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Operations Officer Ken Brown said the hand sanitizer reflects UTHSC’s commitment to care for the front-line caregivers during the pandemic.

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center has provided hundreds of cases of hand sanitizer manufactured in its Plough Center for Sterile Drug Delivery Solutions to the university’s core teaching hospitals and the Shelby County Health Department. The gift of this high-demand item is an extension of the university’s comprehensive work to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) locally and statewide.

“The university, through its many faculty, students, and staff offers our fullest support to Memphis, Shelby County, and the state of Tennessee during the COVID-19 pandemic in many ways,” said Ken Brown, JD, MPA, PhD, FACHE, executive vice chancellor and chief operations officer for UTHSC. Dr. Brown led the development of the Plough Center and has overall responsibility for its operation. “Through this particular effort, the production of hand sanitizer, it is our hope that this is another small contribution in helping to take care of the front-line caretakers in our overall effort.”

Boxes of the UTHSC-manufactured hand sanitizer went to Regional One Health, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, and Methodist University Hospital, as well as to the Shelby County Health Department.

“Hand sanitizer is a valuable commodity during this unprecedented time managing COVID-19,” said Reginald Coopwood, MD, president and CEO of Regional One Health. “We at Regional One Health are thankful to our valued partner, UTHSC, for this donation, and we are happy to share it with our staff on the front lines as we care for this community.”

The Plough Center for Sterile Drug Delivery Solutions is a state-of-the art facility for the sterile manufacture of pharmaceuticals. The facility was able to switch production to hand sanitizer in early April, as the virus began to spread in Shelby County and supplies locally and across the country dwindled. Hand washing is a primary component of infection prevention protocol for COVID-19.

Located at 208 South Dudley Street on the eastern edge of campus, the Plough Center is the only pharmaceutical facility of its kind in Tennessee and one of the few university-owned contract-manufacturing facilities in the United States.

Initial distribution of the hand sanitizer went to critical needs entities in the community, including the COVID-19 testing site at Tiger Lane, University Health Services, and the College of Dentistry emergency dental clinic, first responders, and university clinical faculty.

“Le Bonheur enjoys a strong partnership with UTHSC,” said Michael Wiggins, MBA, FACHE, president of Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. “Manufacturing hand sanitizer and providing it to us is yet another example of how they use their remarkable capabilities to partner with us in delivering safe and effective care to children.”

Michael Ugwueke DHA, FACHE, president and chief executive officer of Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, expressed appreciation for the gift. “We appreciate the generosity of our academic partner UTHSC through their donation of hand sanitizer,” he said. “During this challenging time, we have seen an outpouring of support from across our community and we are truly grateful.”

Alisa Haushalter, DNP, RN, director of the Shelby County Health Department and an associate professor of Advance Practice and Doctoral Studies in the UTHSC College of Nursing, said, “The Shelby County Health Department (SCHD) and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center have had a strong, collaborative relationship that preceded the appearance of COVID-19. However, during the pandemic, UTHSC has stepped forward as a significant partner in reducing the impact of COVID-19 in our community. Most recently, UTHSC donated 50 cases of hand sanitizer for use by the SCHD. As an alumna of the UTHSC College of Nursing, I am exceptionally proud of my alma mater’s contribution to the COVID-19 response“