For this month’s special two-part Student Spotlight, we spoke with Jennaire Lewars, a 4th year SJSM student currently on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. With many clinical rotations currently limited or on hold, Jennaire and other SJSM clinical students are using this unexpected free time to volunteer at hospitals and provide key support for healthcare workers.

Jennaire, who is originally from Toronto, Canada, is currently in Chicago. He is volunteering at Roseland Community Hospital, working mainly with COVID-19 patients, including screening, testing, and intubations.

Additionally, Jennaire has been using his Instagram account (@dr_jaii) and other methods to raise awareness about COVID-19. He was also invited by WBEZ NPR Chicago to produce an audio diary covering “a day in the life” of his volunteer work.

Once things settle down, Jennaire will be close to graduating from SJSM and plans to ultimately pursue Interventional Cardiology.

How have you been helping others during this pandemic?

Through opportunities with Weiss Memorial Hospital/OMNI medical training program, I have had the opportunity to address the need for health care workers in Chicago during COVID-19 by volunteering in the Emergency Department at Roseland Community Hospital on the South Side of Chicago. I have been able to work alongside the doctors and nurses as a team-member in patient care, directly caring for predominantly COVID-19 patients and assisting in resuscitation efforts.

Additionally, I have been using my social platforms, and opportunities via local news stations and WBEZ National Public Radio to inform and update the public, in efforts to reduce the misinformation disseminated regarding the pandemic.

What advice do you have for friends and family regarding COVID-19?

My advice, especially as restrictions begin to lift in many states, is not to rush to get outside and abstain from large gatherings for the interim. Continue to follow precautions. Though we all have been longing to see many of our families and friends, do not rush to see those that may still be vulnerable or immunocompromised.

The virus has not yet been eradicated, nor is there an established cure just yet, so we must do our part to ensure that another deadly wave of COVID-19 does not occur. Stay encouraged, be confident that things will return to normalcy soon, and stay safe!

SJSM is proud of our students and alumni who are working and volunteering on the front lines during this unprecedented modern pandemic.
We would like to thank Jennaire for taking time from his busy schedule to speak with us, and we will be back with part 2 of his interview next week. You can listen to clips of his radio interviews by looking up his username on instagram, dr_jaii.

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