One year into the pandemic and the dearth of N95 face masks for healthcare workers continues, with practices and facilities that serve some of the most vulnerable communities still unable to obtain adequate supplies. So when biopharmaceutical company Esperion Therapeutics of Ann Arbor, Michigan called the Association of Black Cardiologists (ABC) and offered to donate 20,000 N95 masks, ABC President Michelle A. Albert, MD, MPH, immediately said “Yes.”

The Association sent masks to Morehouse Healthcare, the clinical arm of Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, which serves predominantly black, low-income communities. The remainder went to private practices affiliated with the ABC that also care for underserved, vulnerable patients. The practices are located throughout the country, including Ridgewood, NJ.

“Many of our members provide care to people of color, those who are most vulnerable to the effects of the pandemic,” she said. “These practices have been hit doubly hard, both by the influx of patients with COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 complications, and by the psychological and financial strain from the sudden reduction in patient visits and procedures resulting from the pandemic.”

Add to that the fact that the cost of N95 masks has skyrocketed since the pandemic began, with a report from the Society for Healthcare Organization Procurement Professionals finding that the cost of N95 masks jumped from 38 cents pre-pandemic to $5.75 in the months after, a 151% increase.

“These practices are truly on the front lines of the pandemic given the populations they serve,” said Elizabeth Ofili, Chair of the ABC Board of Directors. “We are incredibly grateful for the generosity of Esperion to help protect physicians, other members of the care team and their employees as they care for and treat people with or at risk for cardiovascular disease and the coronavirus.”

“As the lipid management company, we’re proud to support the work of the Association of Black Cardiologists and its members by providing essential equipment that increases the ability to help more patients,” said Sheldon Koenig, Chief Operating Officer of Esperion. “We are grateful that the Association was able to share the N95 masks with those who need it the most.”

“Our members were so welcoming of this life saving protective health gear,” Dr. Albert said. “They are aware that this is another manifestation of ABC and Esperion’s dedication to community, patients and health care professionals.”

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