Donors step up to help UF Health with COVID-19 response and more
By: Joan Andrek
From masks and other personal protective equipment to immediate funding for high-impact research, UF Health donors continue to go above and beyond to ensure that the pandemic response continues unabated.
Sarasota physician R. Dean Hautamaki, MD ’89,
secured a gift from the Flanzer Trust to support
UF Health’s COVID-19 efforts.
Photo by Jesse S. Jones
As the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus became apparent, Sarasota physicianR. Dean Hautamaki, MD, FCCP, FACP, knew that an equally rapid deployment of researchers and specialists was the best bet for disrupting the impact of COVID-19. Hautamaki, a 1989 graduate of the College of Medicine and a co-trustee of the Flanzer Trust, secured a $100,000 gift from the trust to establish UF Health’s COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund, which supports research, delivery of testing and treatment, epidemiological studies, vaccine development, prevention efforts and other similar initiatives.
“UF Health is able to efficiently gather scientific and medical resources, deploy these resources statewide and lead our state’s efforts surrounding coronavirus intervention,” said Hautamaki, who with his wife, Lizzie, also committed personal resources to the fund and is appealing to other university supporters to do the same.
Less than three weeks after the initial contribution from the Flanzer Trust, another allocation of $130,000 was secured, this time for the purchase of a robot to speed the segmentation of samples of the novel coronavirus in UF’s department of pathology, immunology and laboratory medicine. The efficiency created by the use of the robot will allow for faster testing and test results analysis, and the robot can be used for any virus, making it a vital piece of equipment both during and after the pandemic.
In Jacksonville, the First Coast Relief Fund — a partnership that includes The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, Jessie Ball duPont Fund, Jewish Federation and Foundation of Northeast Florida and United Way of St. Johns County — has provided $100,000 to UF Health Jacksonville to equip and implement a telehealth program with the potential to reach more than 30,000 residents. Funds from the grant will purchase technology to implement the telehealth program. Additional support for UF Health Jacksonville came through a $50,000 gift from Truist Bank to help purchase personal protective equipment for care providers.
Gift from Flanzer Trust to establish COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund
Gift from Flanzer Trust for robot to speed segmentation of novel coronavirus samples
Gift from First Coast Relief Fund to equip and implement telehealth program at UF Health Jacksonville
Units of PPE from donors around the world
Gift for mask prototypes
Gifts from donors to UF Health in observation of National Doctors’ Day March 30
Contributions in just a few days to a newly established patient care fund
Sonny’s BBQ donated hundreds of meals to UF Health front-line workers during the height of the pandemic. Organized by John Kirkpatrick of Sonny’s, the donation provided delicious food to workers in between first and second shift.
Photo by Jesse S. Jones
Gainesville and North Central Florida donors also rose to the occasion to support UF Health’s front-line staff through gifts of all kinds. From monetary contributions to the hospital’s greatest areas of need to donations of thousands of units of personal protective equipment, sanitizer and other crucial supplies, the UF Health community gave from their hearts to help physicians, nurses and other essential health care staff.
Gainesville's Chinese community raised over $30,000 in three days to provide UF Health hospitals with personal protective equipment.
Photo by Jesse S. Jones
• More than 30,000 units of personal protective equipment — from surgical and N95 masks to face shields, ventilators and other key equipment — have been donated from organizations, businesses and community supporters.
• UF Health’s department of anesthesiology has developed two prototypes for masks that can be produced in large quantities using materials already found in hospitals and medical facilities. The masks, which have a patent pending, were enthusiastically supported by external philanthropy, with more than $17,000 contributed to date toward this effort.
Dozens of community organizations and restaurants have donated meals, snacks and other consumables for the health care teams,
including 177 cases of Girl Scout Cookies donated by A-Turner Moving and Storage.
Photo by Louis Brems
• In observation of National Doctors’ Day on March 30, donors to UF Health contributed more than $12,000, along with notes of encouragement for front-line staff, while grateful patients added thanks for the care they received.
• A patient care fund recently established to help those affected by COVID-19 garnered nearly $10,000 in contributions in just a few days.
• Dozens of community organizations, restaurants and other services have donated hundreds of meals, snacks and other consumables for the health care teams, including 177 cases of Girl Scout Cookies donated by A-Turner Moving and Storage.
Amid the outpouring of support for patients and caregivers alike, alumni and friends of the university and UF Health have also responded with astounding generosity and pride for the work being done by UF College of Medicine students, many of whom have volunteered for research, community testing initiatives and other COVID-19 response efforts. UF College of Medicine scholarship coffers received a $1 million boost recently through an estate commitment from alumnus Carey Ketchum, MD ’78, and his wife, Renee. Their gift will provide merit-based scholarships to help encourage and support the college’s most promising medical students.