University of Portland donates medical supplies to Providence

By Fiona O'Brien | March 30, 2020 6:54pm

Photo by Ashkan Forouzani on Unsplash.

The University Operations department at the University of Portland donated medical supplies last Wednesday to Providence Health and Services in the Portland area. With the recent outbreak of the novel coronavirus, hospitals across Oregon are struggling to find the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect medical workers. 

UP donated over 1,000 face masks, gowns, gloves and disinfecting wipes. The face masks included N95, surgical and clean room masks. The supplies came from Physical Plant, the Biology and Chemistry departments and the Engineering school. 

According to Sarah Schmits, the Environmental Health and Safety Officer, different medical facilities, including Providence, contacted her and other administrators to see if the university had any supplies. This led Vice President for University Operations Jim Ravelli and Schmits to gather the supplies and coordinate a delivery with Providence. 

“We felt like it was the right thing to do, since a lot of our supplies aren’t currently in use since we don’t have any classes right now,” Schmits said.

According to Vice President for Marketing and Communication Michael Lewellen, UP chose to donate to Providence because of their reach in the Portland area and their relationship with the university. 

“Dr. Jancie Burger who oversees Providence St. Vincent’s is actually on the UP board of regents so we had some good relationships to facilitate this type of contribution seamlessly,” Lewellen said. “Their alignment with our values as an institution made it a natural fit. It’s a large health care system with multiple facilities. So we knew that whatever we came up with would be spread wherever they had the need.”

If there is a need for more supplies as the COVID-19 pandemic persists, Lewellen and Ravelli hope that the university can use their resources to help the community again. 

Fiona O’Brien is a reporter for The Beacon. She can be reached at