Health administration students organize meal donation for UAB Hospital workers during coronavirus pandemic

Through a partnership with Frontline Foods, students are independently supporting local clinicians in the fight to keep our communities safe, while simultaneously supporting Birmingham’s local restaurant industry. 

MHSA2Fortugno (left) and Tipper. Students with the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Department of Health Services Administration are finding their own way to show gratitude for health care workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic, while supporting the local restaurant businesses they have grown to love during their time at UAB.

Through a partnership with Frontline Foods, students are independently supporting local clinicians in the fight to keep our communities safe, while simultaneously supporting Birmingham’s local restaurant industry. As a national organization, Frontline Foods began with independent groups in San Francisco and New York City that had the same central idea — helping health care workers while simultaneously employing the restaurant industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As this crisis grows in scope and scale, we want to continue to push that mission forward by boosting the morale of our frontline warriors in need across our communities, all while helping  local restaurants and their employees,” said Christina Fortugno, a critical care nurse, second-year Health Administration graduate student and MBA student within the department, and co-organizer of Frontline Foods Alabama.

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Fortugno and Bradley Tipper, another second-year MSHA and Heatlh Informatics graduate student, decided the entire process of donating needed to be as transparent as possible.

100 percent of donations made to the Birmingham chapter of Frontline Foods through World Central Kitchen’s website will be used to sponsor meals prepared by our local restaurant community and delivered to local hospitals.

Fortugno and Tipper say their group will absorb all of the administrative overhead. You can now make donations here.

UAB needs you. We need donations for supplies and patient care. We need support for displaced students. We need meals for our health-care professionals on the front lines. We need all hands on deck. We’re all apart—but we’re all a part of the fight. We need you. Join UAB's fight against coronavirus.

“Being in the Health Services Administration program, we’ve been trained on how to support and help our providers,” Tipper said. “We knew that, even though we were about to leave Birmingham, we wanted to be a part of the solution here.”

In addition to providing meals to health care workers, care packages are another way community members are able to say “thank you” to the doctors, nurses, techs, environmental service workers and others. Care packages contain snacks, goodies and handwritten notes of encouragement, to be delivered to our health care heroes. You can purchase items to be included here.

“We are so inspired by the efforts of these leaders,” said Christy Lemak, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Health Services Administration. “They identified what was needed and quickly went to work to fill those needs right here in our community, and the fact that this helps both frontline caregivers and local restaurants is a fabulous ‘synergy’ that I think everyone can relate with as well. This is what servant leadership looks like. It’s great to see the students take charge in this way.”

MHSA4An example of a meal provided by Bettola in Birmingham.Fortugno and Tipper delivered their first meals on March 30 to UAB’s Emergency Department. They hope to expand their efforts to other Birmingham-area hospitals in the coming days and weeks.

To learn more about how you can be involved, visit frontlinefoodsal.com.

For more updates on COVID-19, visit uab.edu/coronavirus.