Protecting our frontline workers and fellow Canadians
The Masking Together Challenge began because I wanted to help a patient of mine. At age 31, she was about to begin chemotherapy and radiation treatment for cancer on April 2nd. As she fights for her life, I wanted to make sure it was focused on her cancer and not complicated by COVID-19 because of her weakened immune system. A mask would be her shield and armour to and from the hospital.
This led to a far longer journey to get her a simple box of masks. Under normal circumstances, a visit to her local drug store would take care of this purchase. Not these days, as I learned. Long story short, we almost got millions of masks into Canada, but it was not to be. Check out the long story under our PPE Challenge.
Because you are reading this website, you can see that we’ve not given up. In fact, we’ve made it more impactful. Welcome to the Masking Together Challenge – reset to V2.0. We are on a mission to protect and support all of our frontline healthcare workers, and our fellow Canadians too. The support begins locally around the greater Toronto area.
Elaine Chin, MD, MBA
Class of 8T8, Faculty of Medicine, U of T
Founder, Executive Health Centre
With support from Dr. Trevor Young, Dean at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, we agree the need goes far beyond masks.
Here are Our Three Challenges
- Finding all types of Personal Protective Equipment to fill the gaps in inventory for our frontline health teams at all affiliated hospitals.
- Supporting our Residents and Fellows, who are specialists in training, to find a ‘safe place’ to self-isolate. These individuals may pose risks to their families if they return home after taking shifts to care for COVID-19 patients, or they may be simply too tired to drive home safely afterwards.
- Funding urgent research, which goes beyond finding a vaccine against COVID-19. There is much more to learn and understand with regards to how we can deploy countermeasures to reduce the spread of the virus.
In 2003, SARS hit Toronto.
Personally, I was scared.
As a family unit, we were very scared.
My SARS Experience
I had my office in a hospital with SARS patients. When it started, we didn’t know how it was transmitted. Then we heard that it was airborne. All of us physicians and nurses were afraid. The hospitals were not organized to manage the crisis. We were literally iterating solutions as we learned more each day.
My son was 4 years old, and his dad was working inside a designated SARS hospital, St. Michael’s. We did make sure our Wills were up to date. We had nowhere to send ourselves or our child to stay in a ‘safer place.’ Our extended family were either healthcare frontline workers too or immune compromised.
When I see doctors crying on TV and begging for masks and PPE,
I get it.
When I see frontline workers sleeping in their cars to protect their families,
I get it.
When I see people volunteering their life to test experimental vaccines,
I get it.
The world is facing a shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) against COVID-19. Masks are especially in demand. We also need more gowns, gloves and shields. o As we find sources of all types of PPE through our collective efforts, the Faculty of Medicine at U of T, in partnership with their affiliated hospitals, will support the ethical distribution of all PPE to the hospitals that need them most.
At the peak of the pandemic, up to 20% of healthcare providers may need to self-isolate, away from their family. Many Residents and Fellows (specialists in training) often have trouble finding a place to self isolate safely. Hence, together with the U of T Faculty of Medicine, we are partnering with hotels across the GTA to help with critical short-term accommodation. The Faculty of Medicine is committed to helping fund accommodation for all trainees who need it.
The University of Toronto has created a Toronto COVID-19 Action Fund of $6,000,000, and we are seeking contributions to increase the size of this fund (target of $10M). This Fund supports research that renders near-term results (12 months) to positively impact individuals, communities and public health systems. The funds are open to researchers at U of T and across our partner hospitals.
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Are there administrative fees to U of T Faculty of Medicine?
100% of donations will go to the respective funds. There are no administrative fees or charges.
Can I donate by wire transfer or stock?
es, you can donate by wire transfer or stock and certainly by credit card, and cheques too.
How do I get a Charitable Tax Receipt?
If making a donation online, a tax receipt will be emailed to you immediately. If making a donation by wire transfer, stock or cheque, a tax receipt will be mailed to you shortly afteré
Can I direct my donation to one specific challenge?
We will be asking you to share your preferences, if any. However, as this Challenge evolves, priorities will change and we would like for the University of Toronto, Faculty of Medicine team, to ethically prioritize the funds to the most urgent needs in a timely and appropriate manner.
Can I choose which challenge impacts I want to support?
We will be asking you if you have any preferences during your donation registration. Our goal is to place the impact where it’s needed the most given the uncertainty of need during the weeks and months ahead. However, your wishes will be honoured.
What is the governance model that you will be using for this Challenge?
The donation is collected by the University of Toronto. The governance of the funds is managed by the Dean of Medicine, in consultation with the Dean’s Executive Team. The distribution of the assets will be done in consultation with the Toronto Academic Health Science Network. See more about this throughout our website.