Medical Student Makes Masks a Mission

As a medical student at Mount Sinai Hospital in Boston, Aishwarya Raja saw a need for masks in her community for essential workers. Raja focused on people who needed masks for their jobs but didn’t have the ability to buy them.  

Raja enlisted and organized other medical students at Mount Sinai to help her crowd-source and seek out mask donations. They call their efforts Mask Transit. In addition to the masks, the students created cards with information from the CDC and World Health Organization that explain why you should wear a mask, as well as how to store and clean them. Medical students from the community provided input, and the group prints the cards in Mandarin, French, Arabic, Spanish and English.

“Providing the mask wasn’t enough,” Raja said. “We wanted to show, in plain language, the importance of wearing them for the wearer and their communities. Essential workers don’t have the ability to work from home, so they are going to be in the public.”

If people know why they should wear a mask, they may be more likely to wear them, she said.

To date, Mask Transit has distributed more than 10,000 masks and educational cards. They’ve established chapters in New Haven, Boston and New York City.

But Raja said the group still needs more mask donations, as well as funding to buy masks and create information cards. 

TAKE ACTION: To donate masks or funding, or to establish a chapter in your community, visit Mask Transit.