The Birmingham Chinese Association supplied PPE to UAB Hospital at the start of pandemic

The Birmingham Chinese Association presents a checkWhen the leaders of the Birmingham Chinese Association (BCA) learned in March that UAB was in need of personal protective equipment (PPE) for its essential healthcare workers, they took action—fast.

“The Birmingham Chinese community has members and friends who work at UAB as doctors, nurses, clinical staff, medical researchers, and investigators, so we were fully aware of and concerned about the difficult situation UAB Hospital faced,” explains Kaiyu Yuan, president of the BCA board.

They turned to their community for help, asking for masks, gloves, and other protective gear to share with UAB—and they “received an immense response,” notes JJ Fu, a member of the BCA board. Within a week, they had collected more than 600 N95 respirators and over 200 disposable face masks, as well as protection gowns, examination gloves, and other PPE.

But they wanted to do more. “The quantity of the collected items was limited, far from fully meeting the hospital’s needs, but it led to our second initiative: a fund-raiser with a goal of $20,000 to finance more PPE for UAB,” adds Shelly Tanner, who is also a member of the BCA board. They met their goal and on April 15 presented the gift to UAB.

“Our concern at the time was that doctors and nurses may get infected due to inadequate protection,” Fu explains. “Hospitals would be overrun and eventually incapacitated if healthcare workers started to dwindle due to the coronavirus and shortage of PPE, which would result in a much bigger healthcare crisis.”

The gift has made a significant difference in the fight against COVID-19, says Tom Brannan, UAB vice president for advancement. “We are grateful to all members of the Birmingham Chinese Association for their generosity and partnership with UAB in helping battle the COVID-19 crisis,” Brannan emphasizes. “Their extremely generous gift made an immediate impact by helping us make sure that our frontline workers have the proper equipment to keep them safe, as well as the patients they are serving during this critical time.”

The BCA is a nonprofit organization that represents the Chinese community in the greater Birmingham area. The organization’s mission is to encourage constructive spirit and fellowship among the Chinese community in Birmingham; to promote friendship and common welfare among Birmingham residents who have a strong interest in the Chinese culture; and to promote education, professional service, and businesses in Birmingham communities. The BCA also assists charitable nonprofit organizations in Birmingham through large cultural events like the annual Chinese New Year festivals supported by the City of Birmingham and local businesses.