Mask-ER-Aid is helping protect essential workers in California, but it was Jiang’s experience in Tacoma that sparked the idea. When the biology major isn’t busy with coursework or playing lacrosse, she uses her skills as a certified EMT to volunteer in the emergency department at Tacoma General Hospital and at Neighborhood Clinic Tacoma. Her duties span from stocking linens and tubes in patient rooms to clinical support. “When I’m [at Neighborhood Clinic Tacoma], I do a lot of patient intake, reading over charts. I take preliminary vitals and ask patients their chief complaint, finish paperwork, and then hand that over to a nurse or a doctor.” The 19-year-old took a class last summer to become a certified EMT. “For a while, I thought I wanted to do pre-med, and I partially took that class as a way to make sure I still wanted to do pre-med—which I do.”
When the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases started to spike in the Northwest in early March, Jiang got a call. “Tacoma General reached out to its volunteers looking for sewers to make masks and other PPE, but I didn’t have my sewing machine and I ended up coming back to the Bay Area. We have a contact at Valley Medical Center, so I reached out to see if they needed a similar thing here. He said they needed thousands of masks, so I got to work,” she says.
Jiang and her brother delivered their first donation to Valley Medical Center on March 23. Since then, the Mask-ER-Aid team has donated more than 4,200 PPE items. “It’s been really amazing. I think our goal now is to keep making masks, keep making bouffants until [Valley Medical Center] says they don’t need any more,” Jiang says. “That would be a great goal to accomplish.”
Watch Capriana Jiang ’23 and her brother deliver more than 380 masks to Valley Medical Center in one day: