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Behind the Scenes

Origin Story of Get Us PPE

By May 1, 2020January 22nd, 2021No Comments

#GetMePPE Begins

Day 1 – March 16

Dr. Esther Choo (@choo_ek) and Matt Cortland (@Mattbc) started the hashtag #GetMePPE on Twitter to stimulate stories about shortages of hospital equipment and raise awareness about the Defense Production Act (DPA) of 1950, our most promising mechanism for rapid mass production of needed hospital resources.

Day 2 – March 17

Based on their frontline experiences, Dr. Val Griffeth (@VGriffeth) and Dr. Choo drafted an initial letter pleading for personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers. They then teamed up with Drs. Megan Ranney (@meganranney), Emmy Betz (@EmmyBetz), Seth Trueger (@mdaware), Jeremy Faust (@jeremyfaust), Howard Forman (@the_howie), and Kyle Fischer (@kbfischer) to rework the editorial into an online petition. Parallel petitions were started on by Drs. Kviatkovsky, Chace, and Thota among other leaders. These clinicians wanted the country to understand the critical need to support frontline health care workers – by making #GetMePPE go viral and mobilizing action through a paired hashtag, #GetUsPPE.

Momentum Builds

Day 3 – March 18

At 10:15pm, Dr. Ranney got in touch with four students – Harvard MD/MBA students Adam Beckman (@adamlbeckman) and Suhas Gondi (@suhas_gondi), Harvard medical student Tomi Ojo (@TomiOjo3), and graphic design student Jackie Thomas (@jackiejst) – who had days earlier set up with a team of experts led by Dr. Forman.

Day 4 – March 19

Within 20 hours, the #GetMePPE online petition was live and getting thousands of signatures, amplifying the need.

Solving the Distribution Problem

Day 5 – March 20

After seeing the #GetMePPE and #GetUsPPE hashtags, and without clear government action happening, Dr. Shuhan He (@ShuhanHeMD) proposed starting a distribution channel to match PPE supplies to need was launched, expanding the movement from a petition into a platform for action. The model was direct: Register the need for PPE nationwide, and enable citizens to meet that need by donating within their communities.

Power in Teamwork

Day 6 – March 21

The two grassroots efforts merged into a single team and began outreach to dozens of groups across the country seeking to accomplish a single goal: Protect health care workers fighting Covid-19.

Day 7 – March 22: began to merge in the work of dozens of other groups, websites, databases and organizations (Our Team). The non-profit AFFIRM immediately backed the coordination effort. By March 22, over 100 volunteers including many software engineers, media experts, and more joined the Slack channel, divided into teams, created verticals, and started coordinating real-time distribution of PPE to health care workers.

Moving Forward is now a leading national, grassroots effort to equip front line health care workers with the protective equipment they need. It is the largest coalition of PPE donor database projects, with new projects being merged on a daily basis. establishes a centralized, nationwide platform to share information and connect our community. Our platform empowers citizens to take direct action in their own communities, and connect with their local healthcare providers in need.

With our platform, we seek to advance three key initiatives:

  • Advocate for more PPE production (#GetMePPE).
  • Send, receive, and coordinate donations for PPE among the community and medical professionals.
  • Unite the maker community to validate designs that can be widely shared among the medical community and easily printed in local manufacturing facilities.
Oki Tjandrakusuma