At GetUsPPE.org, we are proud to announce that we have matched over one million pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) with healthcare workers in need around the country. Our grassroots organization, which has accrued the nation’s largest dataset of PPE demand, enables local donors to find and deliver supplies to facilities in their community. GetUsPPE also directly matches larger donations with healthcare institutions facing shortages.
Surpassing the one-million mark has required tireless work, countless hours, and the skilled coordination of local groups across the country. Our Bay Area regional affiliates alone have delivered nearly 317,000 units of PPE. The volunteers in our nationwide network are working hard towards a single goal: keeping frontline healthcare workers safe.
As the PPE shortage evolves, GetUsPPE is accelerating its efforts to match supply to demand through the following processes:
- Building and maintaining the largest database of PPE demand across the country. GetUsPPE joined forces with Project N95 on April 20th to establish the Demand Data Hub, the nation’s authoritative source of PPE demand data. This allows us to provide healthcare workers with a single destination for registering their PPE needs, and we use the data we collect to track and predict shortages across the country.
- Getting PPE to healthcare workers in the fairest and most efficient way possible. We move quickly to get vitally-needed equipment to healthcare facilities, using a variety of criteria to prioritize where each donation is delivered. One factor we take into account is fairness. We have built into our platform an equitable distribution algorithm to ensure that we are serving vulnerable communities and those with greatest need. We also divide larger donations into separate shipments and distribute them more widely, in part to get PPE to areas of the country with fewer donation sites.
- Giving grants to regional affiliates. We have created an internal GetUsPPE grant program to help support our regional affiliates. These local volunteer teams can submit applications for funding to help support the logistics of PPE transportation and the purchase of PPE from vetted suppliers to be donated within their local areas.
- Giving grants to makers. GetUsPPE works with makers across the United States who are using their skills and resources to create PPE and supplement the national supply. These grants help fund the purchase of raw materials and cover the logistics of donating maker-made PPE.
- Direct, strategic purchasing of PPE. In order to redress urgent shortages, GetUsPPE makes strategic purchases of equipment from vetted manufacturers, as identified by our partner, Project N95. These purchases help get PPE to under-resourced and vulnerable communities, particularly those that are unable to compete in the competitive PPE marketplace. We are currently working to meet critical needs in the Navajo Nation, which has the third highest per capita rate of COVID-19 in the country.
- Fostering industry partnerships. We are working with domestic manufacturers and other corporate partners to create new sources of PPE supply, which will be matched to requests in our database.
We are grateful for the GetUsPPE volunteers working day and night to strengthen our demand database and equitable distribution algorithm. Today, our engineers launched a new request system with additional prioritization factors, including whether a facility accepts Medicaid, provides services for low or no fees, and the current COVID-19 burden in its area.
Our technology relies upon the manpower of local affiliates, whose last-mile deliveries made such a rapid relief response possible. Their efforts may not be appreciated in full force, as our one million milestone only took into account the matches resulting from regional affiliate grants. But every delivery moves us one step closer to a future where frontline workers are adequately protected.
But as we celebrate this milestone achievement, the demand for PPE only grows higher. The global supply chain still lacks the capacity to meet demand, and as more states reopen, the need for PPE will spread beyond healthcare facilities. On May 1st, International Workers’ Day, essential workers—including nurses and non-clinical employees in grocery stores and warehouses—are holding strikes nationwide, demanding more PPE and safer conditions as quarantines lift and businesses restart. Our fight to get lifesaving protective gear to those on the front lines of COVID-19 must persist.
To learn more and push for federal action, join our coalition for Need Masks Today, an event bringing health workers, lawmakers, educators, and celebrities together to advocate for the Defense Production Act (DPA) and a coordinated national response in the manufacturing and equitable distribution of PPE. If you’d like to request, donate, or make PPE, join our movement today at GetUsPPE.org.