Outpouring of Support From MIT’s Worldwide Community Bolsters Institute’s Covid-19 Response

Members of the MIT community living all over the world have reached out to offer support for the Institute’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, prompting the creation of two new funds to support MIT’s efforts to help address the public health crisis.

The new funds will support MIT’s engagement on two fronts: donating urgently needed supplies and equipment to hospitals and health centers in the greater Boston area, and seeking solutions through research and computing.

“Alumni and friends are eager to know what MIT is doing and how to support those efforts,” says Joe Higgins, vice president for campus services and stewardship.

Elazer Edelman, director of the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, is leading MIT’s coordination with local medical centers, hospitals, and clinics through the newly formed MIT Medical Outreach Team. “We are focused on protecting the MIT community and those on the front lines caring for the health and safety of the MIT and Cambridge communities,” says Edelman, who is the Edward J. Poitras Professor in Medical Engineering and Science and a senior attending physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Edelman has helped organize action across campus to gather and donate vital supplies such as masks, gloves, swabs, and other items. First deliveries of these materials to frontline medical centers in the region have already been made. He and Higgins are overseeing the Institute’s effort to locate much-needed personal protective equipment for contribution to Boston-area health care facilities.

On a separate track, seeking to marshal resources for regional, national, and global public health initiatives, MIT has joined consortia of industry, government, and academia to provide supercomputing power and pathogen research focused on accelerating the development of Covid-19 solutions. The Institute has also created a new Solve challenge on health security and pandemics.

A variety of MIT research projects and MIT-affiliated companies are working to aid detection, prevent spread of the virus, and develop treatments. “MIT is the premier place in the world to bring technology to bear on global crises and pandemics,” Edelman says.

In response to the outpouring of support from alumni and friends, MIT has established two new funds to support these efforts and others like them:

MIT Covid-19 Emergency Fund
Gifts to support MIT’s response to help with the Covid-19 crisis, including providing equipment, space, expertise and other resources to local area hospitals and other health care providers. Contributions to this fund will supplement Institute resources that are already being applied to these immediate medical needs.

MIT Covid-19 Research Fund
Gifts to support MIT faculty and researchers addressing various aspects of the Covid-19 pandemic, including vaccine development, portable ventilators, AI solutions, and improved protective equipment.

Student Life, Wellness and Support Fund
Gifts to this preexisting fund will help address student financial needs that have been exacerbated by the crisis, in addition to ongoing efforts focused on student wellness, mental health, and support services.

A special online giving form allows individuals to contribute to any of these three funds.

The Institute’s multifaceted response to the Covid-19 pandemic reflects its focus on solving global problems.

“MIT’s exceptional, acute crisis management response team will transform what we learn from Covid-19 to create a framework and models for responding to future global crises anywhere and at any time,” Edelman says.

“MIT’s influence is felt all over the world, and we are grateful for the generous support of our international community as we work to speed the pace of solutions.”

This article originally appeared on MIT News on March 27, 2020.

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