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April 2020 in photos: Panthers on the front lines of COVID-19
The line to be evaluated at FIU's coronavirus testing site stretches across Tamiami Park on April 10. Photo by FIU photographer Chris Necuze.

April 2020 in photos: Panthers on the front lines of COVID-19

April 30, 2020 at 11:15am

As new cases of COVID-19 peaked in South Florida this month, members of the health care industry braved long hours and surely unprecedented stress in order to save lives. We are proud to call many of those workers our students and alumni. 

For April in photos, we feature some of our Panthers on the front lines.

Health care MBA student Elizabeth Shipman and fellow co-workers of the Miami Transplant Institute at Jackson Memorial Hospital prepare to go procure an organ for a life-saving transplant. 

At the COVID-19 testing site at FIU, MD candidate Tushar Chakravarty counts how long someone being tested can hold their breath. People tested here are asked to try holding it for 15 seconds. Anyone who has trouble sustaining that time may have their lungs compromised, which is a sign of infection.

Since people with COVID-19 tend to deteriorate quickly once their lungs are affected, these people’s names are marked with an 'R' for rapid testing, which generally takes 24 hours instead of the normal two or three days.

 Dr. Vanessa Gordon and students from the College of Nursing & Health Sciences take a break from working at the COVID-19 test site at FIU to show some school spirit. #PawsUp




Health care MBA student Patricia Rivera is the director for Environmental Services, Transport and Linen Department at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach. Her priority is to make sure her staff is equipped with personal protective equipment and ready to disinfect rooms as patients come in.



Dr. Alexander Daoud M.D. ’16 shows what a day of wearing personal protective equipment looks like. He reports in from New York City, which has the most COVID-19 cases in the world. Daoud is a dermatology resident who has been enlisted to help his hospital deal with the crisis.

Rose Cerne is a respiratory therapist, currently working on her health care MBA at FIU. During the pandemic, she is assisting COVID-19 patients with breathing difficulties at Jackson Memorial Hospital. In the video above, Cerne shows us the layers of personal protective equipment that she puts on to do her job.

Nursing alumna Brittany Tinsley '19 (front) works in the ICU at Duke Regional Hospital. Here, she poses with a couple colleagues and their mechanical friend.

Tinsley, who is in the Army Reserves, was inspired to pursue both nursing and the military after her grandmother, who was a nurse during World War II, was diagnosed with lung cancer. Even though being a nurse is tough right now, Tinsley says that today's nursing students should not be discouraged.

"Don’t let temporary circumstances keep you from your goals. You can do this! You deserve to be a nurse. Don’t let anyone take that away from you," Tinsley said.

Health care MBA student Erika Barrios is a cardiac ICU nurse at Nicklaus Children's Hospital. She is taking care of pediatric patients born with congenital heart disease.



Natalia Echeverri M.D. ’15 is a obstetrician and gynecologist at a hospital in Miami. She is also part of a group that distributes homemade masks and tests for COVID-19 among Miami’s homeless population.

“After 12 years of medical training, I would have never thought that one of the largest impacts I could have on society would be to make masks to help keep others safe,” she said. “Here I am, using my surgical skills to create masks to keep my patients safe. And I’m proud of it. I’m proud that my hands can heal and create and sew and protect.”



Paige Lelati MPAS ’18 stands in a triage tent for suspected COVID-19 patients. She is a physician assistant working in an emergency room in Southern California. In a recent Instagram post, Lelati wrote: “Never did I think during my first year as a PA I would I be working during a pandemic.”