Academy Urges U.S. Government To Address Shortage of Personal Protective Equipment During Global Medical Crisis

March 31, 2020

CHICAGO – During the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, urges the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to address crucial personal protective equipment shortages for frontline health care workers and those providing access to food security programs.

Health care workers are being forced to reuse masks, face guards and gowns that are designed for single use. As a result, many are contracting COVID-19, according to the Academy's letter, sent March 30 to HHS Secretary Alex Azar.

"Many registered dietitian nutritionists are continuing to work in intensive care units, providing nutrition support to patients on ventilators. They are among the growing list of professionals being exposed to COVID-19 as a result of PPE supply shortages," said registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy spokesperson Lauri Wright.

"The Academy wants to do its part to protect all health care workers and the patients we are fighting to save during this global medical crisis," Wright said.

The Academy's letter requests that HHS:

  • Redirect the manufacturing industry to mass produce PPE
  • Increase efforts to identify and recruit potential new PPE manufacturers
  • Develop a national tracking system to secure and distribute PPE
  • Continue to encourage the public not to purchase and hoard PPE
  • Assist federal, state and local health officials in managing their PPE
  • Collaborate with federal, state and local agencies to protect those providing access to food security programs. 

The Academy joins the World Health Organization and other organizations in advocating for additional PPE equipment for the health care community.

For more information, visit the Academy's COVID-19 Nutrition Resource Center located on the Academy's website at eatright.org/coronavirus.

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Representing more than 100,000 credentialed nutrition and dietetics practitioners, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving the nation’s health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. Visit the Academy at eatright.org.