Santa Monica College (SMC), East Los Angeles College (ELAC), and Orange Coast College were among 23 California Community Colleges across the state to donate ventilators, respirators, and personal protective equipment (PPE) to hospitals fighting COVID-19, the 2019 novel coronavirus. The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) picked up 19 ventilators, six respirators, and several boxes of PPE from SMC’s Bundy Campus—which houses Santa Monica College’s Health Sciences Department and the SMC Respiratory Therapy Program—on Saturday, April 4.
SMC was designated as the official pick-up site for the three Los Angeles-area community colleges, who are among 18 in California that have respiratory care and similar programs that use ventilators.
Santa Monica College offers four programs in Health Sciences at its Bundy Campus: a highly-regarded Associate Degree in Science, Nursing (this program, which prepares students to take the National Council Licensure Examination to become registered nurses, celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2016) ; an Associate Degree in Science, Respiratory Therapy, which is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care and prepares students to meet the National Board for Respiratory Care’s Advance Practice standards (this is a two-year partnership program with ELAC: students finish the first year of coursework at SMC and then transition to East LA for the second year); and two short-term noncredit certificates: Rehabilitation Therapy Aide and Introduction to Working with Older Adults.
“This has been a very challenging time for healthcare providers who are on the front lines of the COVID 19 pandemic, as well as the students enrolled in allied health programs, many of whom are eager to join their future colleagues,” said SMC Associate Dean of Health Sciences Eve Adler. “We are proud to be able to step up in this moment of great need for the state, and provide equipment that will help lives—and we are so grateful to all the healthcare providers who are putting their own lives on the line to save the lives of those at danger from COVID-19 against such seemingly insurmountable odds.”
Three SMC professors—Engineering-Physics professor Tram Dang; Interaction Design professor Maxim Safioulline; and Art professor Christopher Badger—are also making use of 3D printers typically used for hands-on instruction to design and print masks and face shields for healthcare workers at Keck School of Medicine of USC, Kaiser Permanente Los Feliz, and more. The 3D printers were originally purchased with faculty grant funds from the SMC Foundation.All instruction and support services at Santa Monica College are being offered in remotely accessible environments through June 16, 2020. SMC Health Sciences faculty—like their colleagues in the many instructional departments across the college—have come up with creative, remote alternatives to coursework, including the use of simulation, wherever possible.
“Santa Monica College—like our counterparts across the California Community Colleges system—is dedicated to ensuring that we do everything possible to help our beloved state and nation come through this crisis,” said SMC Superintendent/President Dr. Kathryn E. Jeffery. “This includes seeking ways to help answer Governor Gavin Newsom’scall to expand California’s healthcare workforce, continuing to educate future healthcare professionals even under these temporary limitations, and now, through this most immediately helpful and tangible gesture, donating PPE, ventilators, and respirators. We are grateful to be able to play a part in fighting this pandemic, along with our colleagues at ELAC, Orange Coast College, and elsewhere.”
“The Los Angeles Community College District and its colleges are proud to stand united with Santa Monica College and all California community colleges in the fight against the spread of COVID-19,” said LACCD Chancellor Francisco C. Rodriguez, Ph.D.
For more information on Santa Monica College’s response to COVID-19, visit smc.edu/coronavirus.
Submitted by Grace Smith