Med students support front-line workers amid outbreak

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — As our health care workers continue to confront COVID-19 in our area, a group of medical students is offering support to their mentors.

COVIDsitters has become somewhat of a national network of volunteer students after first organizing in Minnesota in March to run errands, babysit or do anything else that would help front-line workers.

Chapters have since formed across the U.S., including in metro Detroit and, most recently, Grand Rapids.

Third-year Michigan State University College of Human Medicine students Jordan Griep and Claire Krohn are leading the effort in West Michigan.

Courtesy photo of Michigan State University College of Human Medicine students Jordan Griep and Claire Krohn.
Courtesy photo of Michigan State University College of Human Medicine students Jordan Griep and Claire Krohn.

“Not being able to help our mentors and our teachers and the patients they serve, it’s excruciating,” Krohn explained. “So being able to at least help in some way, kind of in an indirect way for our patients and a very direct way for our mentors and our teachers, has been almost like a relief.”

The two began talking about ways to help after the pandemic canceled their clinicals, many of which mean the classroom is inside a hospital.

Right now, about a dozen people are signed up to help in West Michigan. Volunteers are matched with jobs that are requested by health care workers through MICOVIDsitters.org.

Krohn and Griep hope more people will lean on the volunteer network as it settles in as a resource in West Michigan.

“It’s really for anybody who’s on the front lines. Whether you’re part of administration, custodian, anybody who’s helping the hospitals stay afloat right now that’s being affected by COVID. It’s a service that’s being offered to all of them,” Griep said.