How Brunonians are pitching in during the pandemic

As the world grapples with COVID-19, Brown alumni, students, and faculty are doing what they do best: making a difference.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, Brunonians have sprung into action to help. From treating patients on the front lines to combatting shortages of critical medical equipment to simply bringing a little bit of joy into our homes, here are a few stories of the Brown alumni, students, faculty, and friends who are lifting us up during this challenging time.

In Rhode Island, Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott MPH’11 F’09 is now a household name. As the state's Department of Health director, she's been a voice of authority and a leader in the Ocean State's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Since January, Robert Lu PhD’03 has been working to get medical staff the supplies they need to safely battle the outbreak. He's helped raise more than $300,000 and has shipped more than 440,000 pieces of equipment to those on the front lines in China. With his newly created nonprofit, Pandemic Responders, he's looking to do the same in the United States.

Mary Chapin Carpenter ’81 DMUS’96 hon. is among the many artists bringing a little music and light into our homes. The singer-songwriter began a series called "Songs From Home" on her Facebook page, hosting regular virtual performances for fans.

More than 150 third- and fourth-year medical students from the Warren Alpert Medical School have volunteered to assist hospitals, health care workers and state health officials. They've helped to staff the 24/7 COVID-19 hotline for the state's largest health system, provided child care and grocery shopping for frontline workers, aided state officials with gathering epidemiological data, and more.

Alex Wagner ’99 (journalist and co-host of Showtime's The Circus) has been working to bring the more unseen and unheard stories of this pandemic into the light. In her new podcast, Six Feet Apart, she explores these hidden worlds and talks to individuals on the front line, from the grocery store to the criminal justice system.

While more known for its off-centered and hoppy ales, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Delaware has started to bottle something different: hand sanitizer. Owners Mariah Calagione ’93, P’22 and Sam Calagione, P’22 have diverted part of their production to producing hand sanitizer for their community, with 100% of the profits going to a fund to support Delawareans affected by the coronavirus.

Bringing a smile to our faces once again is John Krasinski ’01 DFA’19 hon. The actor and director recently started a new web show called Some Good News, dedicated to sharing positive and heartwarming stories from around the world.

As hospitals grapple with the potential shortage of ventilators, a team of Brown engineering faculty, students, alumni, and other collaborators are rapidly designing and creating prototypes for a low-cost version of the life-saving device. Named BrunO2, the ventilator can be easily assembled using 3D-printed and easily acquired parts. The team plans to make the design freely available online for others to use.

Crisis guru Nancy Lublin ’93 is helping people cope with virus-related stress. She and her colleagues at Crisis Text Line, a nonprofit text-messaging organization Lublin created in 2013, have been providing online crisis counseling to help its users manage stress and anxiety.

Dr. Megan Ranney MPH’10 RES’08 has been busy fighting the virus both within and outside of her emergency department at Rhode Island Hospital. The practicing emergency physician and associate professor at Brown’s Warren Alpert Medical School is part of the team raising visibility about much-needed personal protective equipment (PPE) with the #GetMePPE social media campaign. With their new site, they've created a centralized platform to help communities get PPE to their health care professionals.

Finding an effective way to treat the disease is top of mind for Dr. Diana Brainard ’92. As the head of antiviral clinical research at Gilead Sciences, she's part of the team conducting clinical trials of remdesivir — an experimental antiviral drug that shows early promise in the fight against the coronavirus.

Why We're Stronger Together


Amidst the COVID-19 crisis, Brunonians have shown that we're stronger together.