Amazon donation gives Meharry huge inventory of surgical masks for students, patients and community

Meharry School of Dentistry leadership members stand in front of just part of the recent Amazon gift of surgical masks. (Left to right) Machelle Thompson, assistant dean and associate professor; Dr. Cherae Farmer-Dixon, dean and professor; and Dr. Henry Young, assistant dean and associate professor.


Amazon, the online go-to source for almost everything, recently made a much-needed gift to Meharry Medical College—21 pallets of surgical masks. With each pallet containing roughly 30,000 masks, that amounts to an estimated 630,000 masks.


To put it in context, that’s more than enough to mask up the citizens of Baltimore or Denver and almost enough to cover the citizens of Nashville or Boston—It’s a lot of masks.


The donation was divided among Meharry’s schools of medicine and dentistry, Meharry Medical Group and the College’s Division of Institutional Advancement which works in partnership with Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools. Institutional Advancement will distribute masks from the Amazon donation to priority schools in the Nashville area as part of the College’s partnership with Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools in serving economically disadvantaged students, supporting physical safety of families and supporting many of the College’s outreach programs in underserved communities. Masks will also go to community partners and small non-profits that Meharry supports. Masks will also be provided to Fisk University and their nearly 1,000 students.


“This donation is huge and definitely needed by our faculty, staff and students who will need to wear masks for the foreseeable future as we execute our medical education curriculum, provide care to patients…and continue to operate citywide COVID-19 testing centers,” said Dr. Digna Forbes, interim dean of the School of Medicine at Meharry Medical College.


Meharry Medical Group sees hundreds of patients daily in its clinics, and each patient and their accompanying guests—every person who enters—is given a mask. MMG providers and medical students all wear masks daily. That’s not to mention the College-run vaccination clinics open Tuesday through Friday weekly, vaccinating hundreds per day, and weekend vaccination events at area churches, shelters and other venues.


Meharry’s School of Dentistry received a large portion of surgical masks from the Amazon donation, which has assisted the SOD students and clinicians in providing safe, quality oral health care to the communities Meharry serves. The gift will also support clinical training for future dentists who will go on to be the oral health care clinicians, administrators and researchers who will treat those in the underserved areas where most of our graduates tend to establish themselves. “We are extremely grateful to have received such a valuable donation during this unprecedented time in our world today,” said School of Dentistry Dean Dr. Cherae Farmer-Dixon. “Again, thank you for this generous donation that will help us serve our community.”