Megan Cairns Tress ’06 is doing whatever she can to help in the midst of the pandemic. A clinical instructor at University of Illinois Chicago Nursing and a FNP (family nurse practitioner) at PCC Community Wellness on the west side of Chicago, she is proud that PCC was recently designated by Illinois’ governor as a city testing site to help close the racial gap of available testing in Chicago. She has been staffing PCC’s COVID hotline and, so far, of the more than 1500 calls they’ve fielded, she and her team have been able to keep 95 percent of the patients out of the hospital through appropriate triage, telehealth and follow-up. The hotline is free and available to all (no need to be a PCC patient). Just call (773) 295-3347!
Additionally, Megan is raising funds to donate cell phone chargers to patient rooms to help patients maintain connection with their families. The project initially was for COVID patients, but has expanded to include all patient rooms. Studies show that patients able to communicate with their families have better outcomes. What started out as a plan to provide chargers for rooms at University of Illinois Health has quickly grown into a national effort.
Megan and her team have named themselves “The Charger Squad” and now have their own domain and website (chargersquad.org) and are starting a 501(c)(3). Their efforts have gained media attention as well. They have been featured on RTV6 Indianapolis, Chicago's WTTW, CBSN Chicago and UIC's College of Nursing website. She was recently interviewed by Forbes and will be a TEDxWriggleyville speaker at the end of June at their “Humanity, a View From Inside the Pandemic,” event, which will take an internal look at our human response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you are interested in donating funds, you can do so through the GoFund Me page The Charger Squad established. If you have a connection to a cell phone charger wholesaler, you can contact Megan at email@example.com. Finally, if you are affiliated with a hospital in need of chargers, you can fill out this form to request them.
Megan is yet another example of a Gilmour alum who is out there living the mission! Thank you, Megan!