UTHSC Receives Donation of Face Masks from Partner Institutions in China

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Donald Thomason, dean of the College of Graduate Health Sciences at UTHSC, is shown with masks donated to the university from partner academic and health care institutions in China.

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center has received a donation of thousands of face masks from China, as a result of the university’s affiliations with academic institutions there.

UTHSC’s College of Graduate Health Sciences, which has developed strong ties with several academic and health care institutions in China, secured the donations. They include surgical masks and N95 masks.

Donald Thomason, PhD, dean of the College of Graduate Health Sciences, said the college has already received 2,000 masks from Hebei University and Hebei Medical University, and another 10,000 or more are on the way from Harbin Medical University. First Hospital of Qiqihar City, another partner of the college, is also sending masks.

Dr. Thomason said the college is determining how best to distribute the masks.

The initial delivery of 1,000 surgical masks came Tuesday morning, he said. Another shipment of 1,000 masks arrived Thursday. Additional shipments of personal protective equipment are also expected, along with masks.

“This is what the spirit of humanity looks like. It’s not about politics, not about personalities, simply the Golden Rule,” Dr. Thomason said.

“We do not have the capacity to bring millions of face masks to New York like the former NBA player (Stephon Marbury), but this may help in relieving somehow the burden on UTHSC,” said Dr. Weikuan Gu, PhD, professor of orthopaedic surgery at UTHSC. Dr. Thomason and Dr. Gu have been active, along with other faculty and staff, in developing UTHSC’s relationships with institutions in China. “While the N95 masks are for clinical use, certain people at work, such as the police, supporting staff, and exponential personnel in the offices and labs, may really need to wear these general clinical face masks. Of course, wearing a mask must not be a substitute for a social distance. It is in addition to social distance. This will help prevent them from being infected and them from infecting others.”