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Across the nation, hospitals and clinics battling the COVID-19 pandemic are searching for additional staffers, facility space and the necessary personal protective equipment to slow the spread of the virus.

In the Wiregrass, Wallace Community College-Dothan is giving back to local health-care partners.

The most-sought items are PPE, which creates a barrier between the sick person and caregivers. Gloves, isolation masks and gowns are the most often requested PPE.

As the coronavirus spreads, the college had these items in its inventory for faculty and students in clinical labs, and the decision was made to donate the items to help block the virus’ spread.

In the past two weeks, Southeast Health and Flowers Hospital picked up their portions of PPE, and Medical Center Barbour and Dale Medical Center are scheduled to receive equipment soon.

“Southeast Health has enjoyed a long relationship with Wallace College and its nursing students,” said Melissa Owens, chief nursing officer at Southeast Health. “We are grateful to continue that relationship with the college’s recent donation of much needed PPE.”

“The demand for PPE is great nationwide as hospitals safely treat COVID-19 patients,” she said. “Thanks to the generous donation by Wallace College, we are able to continue protecting our patients and staff from COVID-19.”

The college’s partnership with local health-care providers is integral to the creation of a well-trained workforce.

“Our health sciences programs prepare graduates to enter the workforce in our local community,” said Kathy Buntin, associate dean of health sciences. “The majority of those working in our area’s health-care facilities are graduates of Wallace Community College. This is a great opportunity for us to show our support for the professions they represent.”

Local hospitals and clinics collaborate with the college, providing jobs, clinical opportunities and participation in advisory boards — a crucial component to match skills with employer needs.

“Being able to assist area facilities in this manner gives us an opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way,” said Dr. Linda Young, the college’s president. “I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the employees, many of whom are WCC graduates, for all they are doing during this unprecedented time. We are grateful for their tireless efforts.”

The donation initiative was statewide and included all institutions in the Alabama Community College System.

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