Baylor medical students create a program to lend a helping hand to healthcare workers during the coronavirus crisis

HOUSTON – There is no doubt the heroes of the coronavirus pandemic have been healthcare workers, but they have needs too.

Healthcare workers have kids who are out of school, pets that need to be feed and walked, and errands that need to be complete.

Students from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston are finding ways to help.

"It was very apparent to us that our teachers and mentors were on the frontlines and doing this really important work," said first-year medical school student Aanchal Thadani.

Not authorized to take care of patients during the crisis, Thadani and a few other students created the COVID Sitters. The program healthcare workers with services such as pet sitting, babysitting, web-tutoring for kids, and running other errands.

"We saw that the family support was the part that was lacking," Thadani said. "Kids are out of school, kids are out of daycare, and those lives don't stop; yet our mentors and teachers are having to be at work longer and in more dangerous conditions."

The program handpicked a small group of volunteers for each family, said Madhushree Zope, a third-year medical student at Baylor.

"That keeps the intimacy of the relationship and builds the bond of care and filling that necessity of the family," she said.

The response from both volunteers and healthcare workers in need has been tremendous.

"It's our way of finding new ways to continue to help our mentors and continue to help the medical community in general," Zope said.

COVID Sitters is a group effort, Thadani and Zope said. Medical students from all of the local universities have stepped in to assist as well.

To volunteer or request services, visit the Houston COVID sitters website.