BioForward Wisconsin: Steps up to provide eye protection and gloves to agencies serving people with disabilities and seniors
This week, eight Madison-area community provider agencies will receive critical personal protection equipment (PPE) to help meet immediate needs thanks to the efforts of BioForward Wisconsin, the leading advocate for the biohealth industry in the state. BioForward worked with The Center for Patient Partnerships at UW Madison which helped facilitate the donation. BioForward Wisconsin, which advocates for and unites biohealth companies to develop integrated health solutions that define the future of healthcare, announced it had secured and would distribute more than 1,100 pieces of protective eyewear and 7,000 pairs of gloves to local organizations that serve people with developmental disabilities and seniors. Combined, these community providers employ hundreds of staff and serve about 1,000 individuals in Dane County.
The PPE that BioForward Wisconsin secured and donated will help ensure that staff and the vulnerable people they serve are protected. Shortages of PPE have arisen due to the COVID-19 pandemic. BioForward’s donation helps address immediate shortages. Dire shortages of N95 masks, a key piece of PPE, prevented BioForward from sourcing those. Organizations receiving the PPE include Dreamweavers, Inc., REM Wisconsin, Options in Community Living, Inc., Comfort Care 4U, Create-Ability, Inc., Rise Up, Community Living Connections, and Catholic Charities.
“The important work that community providers do – helping people with disabilities and seniors live in their own homes, in the community rather than in facilities or institutions – is work that happens 24 hours a day seven days a week. It is essential work and will not stop during this pandemic,” said Melissa Mulliken, advocacy coordinator for the Developmental Disabilities Coalition, Inc. “We are deeply appreciative of BioForward stepping up. Our need for PPEs are greater than any one donation could cover. We are hopeful that BioForward’s wonderful example will inspire others to give.”
“The vulnerable people these organizations assist are at risk for the COVID-19 virus, which makes staff in their homes vulnerable to infection as well,” said Lisa Johnson, CEO, BioForward Wisconsin. “We are honored to be a part of Wisconsin’s biohealth industry and we are committed to being a part of the community response that is called for during these unprecedented times.”
The Center for Patient Partnerships (CPP) faculty member Mary Michaud who reached out to BioForward as soon as she learned about the need for PPE, said, “At CPP, a University of Wisconsin-Madison center, we teach student from law, medicine and other health professions that partnerships across sectors are the only way forward. And it is in times of crisis that those lessons are more valuable than ever.”
Distribution of the PPE will take place on Thursday and Friday (March 26 & 27). One individual from participating nonprofits will pick up the supplies from Dreamweavers, 612 W Main St., while maintaining health distancing. Gloves, sanitizing wipes, and dollies will be used to facilitate safe distribution.
BioForward serves as the independent voice of the Wisconsin biohealth industry. It is the only Wisconsin organization representing more than 220 biohealth member companies including biotech, biopharma, medical devices, healthcare systems, diagnostics, digital health, research institutions, and service providers. BioForward’s programs and memberships are designed to support and bring value to members through collaborative assistance, legislative advocacy, networking, a purchasing consortium, and by investing in resources and initiatives that encourage growth of the biohealth industry.