Dana Umbro: Caring for COVID 19 Frontline Heroes

Going above and beyond in support of healthcare workers on the front lines of the pandemic, nursing student Dana Umbro’20 is the personification of “Opportunitas in Action.”  Working alongside her long-time friend, Mar Healy and Mar’s mother, Margaret Healy, a critical care nurse, Dana has been putting together and distributing care packages for nurses in area hospitals. Their project is aptly named "Code Frontline."

Margaret started picking up items for the packages because she'd witnessed  how worn out and stressed her fellow nurses were getting, and she knew these small treats would brighten their day. Mar felt helpless and saw this as the perfect opportunity to help out. She posted in a local Facebook group and received an incredible response to the post, including more donations than she could have imagined! They then recruited Dana to help contact more facilities in need of a pick-me-up and “Code Frontline” took off from there!

“While this may be a small contribution to a big problem,” Dana said, “We strive for these care packages to be a positive gesture in the nurses' days and hope that these packages alleviate some of the stressors faced on the front lines. In these challenging times, I have come to understand how important it is to support one another. So far, we have delivered more than 1,500 care packages and are making more each day! We do our best to include a protein bar, trail mix, a drink such as canned coffee, an energy drink, or protein shake, an individually wrapped makeup wipe, mints, candy, and hand sanitizers. All items in our care packages are individually wrapped and sealed to keep things as hygienic as possible.”

Recently, the College's PhD program donated more than 100 pocket-size bottles of hand sanitizers toward the effort.  Jane Dolan, RN, director of graduate recruitment and clinical placement, met with Dana (respecting the 6-feet apart guidelines!) to deliver the items, and described her as “a young woman who truly embodies the Pace spirit.”

The care packages are distributed to all staff working on the frontlines, not just nurses. Packages have gone to Elmust Hospital, Bellevue, Greenwich Hospital, Long Island Jewish Medical Center, Montefiore Medical Center, North Shore University Hospital, White Plains Hospital Medical Center, Montefiore-New Rochelle, Montefiore Medical Center, New York-Presbyterian Hospital (Lawrence), Westchester Medical Center, Northern Westchester Hospital, Memorial Sloan Kettering, Calvary Hospital and Calvary Hospital - Hospice at Home, Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center, NYC Hospitals for Veteran Affairs, and Bronx Lebanon Hospital. They have contacted a number of other hospitals in the area and are working to coordinate more deliveries.

"Right now, we plan to make care packages as long as we have donations to support them," Dana says. "We hope to continue the effort throughout the pandemic."

Dana says she has seen how healthcare workers and communities have come together to tackle this issue - from nurses coming out of retirement, to medical students graduating early to get to the frontlines, to lay people volunteering to assist at testing sites. The challenges associated with the pandemic, she says, have confirmed again her passion for nursing.

“I admire how dedicated and committed these strong men and women working on the frontlines day in and day out are… I hope to be on the frontlines soon and utilize my knowledge, skills, and compassion to the best of my abilities. I will strive to go above and beyond for all my patients, and my coworkers. Healthcare brings a community together for the better. I have witnessed so much love, support, and dedication during this pandemic that has made me so proud of my profession and has also made me so excited for my career as a nurse. I will be forever grateful to have pursued my passion at such an incredible University staffed with amazing people who support me and inspire me

Follow the project on Instagram at @codefrontline. Anyone wishing to make a monetary donation, can do so directly via Venmo to @Dana-Umbro or @mhealy or email codefrontline@gmail.com.

Pictured are care package recipients from area hospitals.