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SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 28, 2020
MEDIA CONTACT: John Gillespie | john.gillespie@downstate.edu | (718)270-2262

SUNY Downstate College of Medicine Students Launch “iPads to Hospitals” To Connect COVID-19 Patients and Families

Nearly 500 devices have already been distributed to 14 hospitals

Brooklyn, N.Y. (April 28, 2020) - Three College of Medicine Students at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University, a dedicated COVID-19 facility, have organized “iPads to Hospitals”, a not-for-profit effort to acquire new and used iPads to donate to hospitals to help COVID-19 patients can communicate with family members and friends.

“It is heartbreaking to hear stories of patients who are not able to have contact with their family or loved ones,” said Shenara Musthaq, SUNY Downstate College of Medicine Class of 2021. “Even though I can’t care for patients at the bedside, this is something I can do that will make a real difference for patients with COVID-19.”

In recent news reports, Musthaq shared that she has first-hand experience with COVID-19, having developed a fever and respiratory symptoms that lasted more than three weeks. Musthaq says she felt helpless against the disease. That feeling of helplessness, and her experience as a medical student at Downstate, helped motivate her and fellow College of Medicine students Amy Johnson (Class of 2020) and Jeff Arace (Class of 2021) to launch this effort.

iPads to Hospitals has received commitments for nearly 450 donated iPads, as well as $40,000 in donations through a GoFundMe page to purchase an additional 300+ devices. Nearly 500 iPads have already distributed to 11 hospitals in the New York City area, 2 facilities on Long Island, and one hospital in Boston. SUNY Downstate’s University Hospital of Brooklyn has received 50 iPads, facilitated by Vice Chair of Medicine Mafuzur Rahman, M.D.

“The resilient spirit of the Downstate medical students throughout the pandemic has been quite remarkable,” said Charles Brunicardi, M.D., Dean of the College of Medicine and Sr. Vice President of SUNY Downstate “These three students have shown ingenuity in fund raising and provided electronic equipment that is helping others battle this deadly disease. Their leadership should be applauded during the greatest medical crisis of our lifetime.”

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About SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University is the borough’s only academic medical center for health education, research, and patient care, and is a 342-bed facility serving the healthcare needs of New York City, and Brooklyn’s 2.6 million residents. University Hospital of Brooklyn (UHB) is Downstate’s teaching hospital, backed by the expertise of an outstanding medical school and the research facilities of a world-class academic center. More than 800 physicians, representing 53 specialties and subspecialties—many of them ranked as tops in their fields—comprise Downstate's staff.

A regional center for cardiac care, neonatal and high-risk infant services, pediatric dialysis, and transplantation, Downstate also houses a major learning center for children with physical ailments or neurological disorders. In addition to UHB, Downstate comprises a College of Medicine, College of Nursing, School of Health Professions, a School of Graduate Studies, a School of Public Health, and a multifaceted biotechnology initiative, including the Downstate Biotechnology Incubator and BioBAT for early-stage and more mature companies, respectively. For more information, visit www.downstate.edu or follow us on Twitter at @sunydownstate.