Graduate shows great commitment in the corona crisis

Alexandra Diendorfer shows great initiative with "Medis-vs-Covid19"

FH-Absolventin zeigt großes Engagement in Zeiten der Corona Krise 3

Alexandra Diendorfer, a graduate of the Journalism and Public Relations (PR) programme, has launched the Medis-vs-Covid19 initiative together with four medical students. Within a very short period of time, a platform was created linking hospitals and students throughout Austria and Germany to strengthen the health care system.

In times of crises, it is not only solidarity that counts, but also commitment and the will to contribute to overcoming the crisis. The project "Medis-vs-Covid19" proves that enormous forces and movements can be released in this process. A five-member team from Germany and Austria thus founded an initiative for medical students who want to help in the crisis but do not know how and where they can do so. What was missing was a contact point.

"It all started with a phone call a few weeks ago," says Alexandra Diendorfer, who graduated in Journalism & Public Relations (PR) at FH JOANNEUM in 2019. A medical student friend from Germany told her on the phone about the newly founded Facebook group, in which thousands of medical students are already networking with each other and jointly looking for ways to offer their help in the healthcare system - including some Austrians. Alexandra quickly realized that she would like to actively support the movement here in the country and together with her boyfriend Michael Neulinger, medical student at the Medical University of Graz, she took over the organization for this.

Photo: private
Alexandra Diendorfer

In less than a week to the cross-national platform

Soon afterwards, a Facebook group of the same name was created for Austrian students. What happened in the next days and weeks surprised and challenged the team of "Medis-vs-Covid19" at the same time. The response and the interest were enormous, and within a very short time the two groups in Austria and Germany together had more than 20,000 participants. In order not to lose the overview and important information, the team decided to create a website. After only two days, it existed on the web with the name medis-vs-covid.de. Such a project requires not only stamina but also an enormous amount of work and teamwork, says Alexandra. "Everyone has done almost everything." Fortunately, a founding member from Germany had the necessary IT skills. The group communicated continuously via WhatsApp and at numerous meetings via Zoom.

The effort was worthwhile: Shortly afterwards, support came from the Federal Representation of Medical Students in Germany (BVMD) and the German Federal Government. In the course of the #wirvscovid hackathon of the German government, the platform match4healthcare was created within a few days in further cooperation. It connects health care institutions with thousands of students unbureaucratically and quickly. Thus, medical students who want to help and hospitals who urgently need this help can register and find each other.

A current full-time job

"The project now resembles a real full-time job," explains Alexandra. Other activities and jobs even had to be temporarily suspended for this. The tasks of the two Austrian initiators include not only the permanent support of the Facebook group, but also the development of a comprehensive communication strategy to reach important contacts, health institutions, press offices and partners, such as the Austrian study representation, for cooperation. "It is slowly becoming simpler and more structured, yet it is still a challenging task," says Alexandra about her voluntary work. She has shown this in past FH projects, one of which was the "Special Olympics Winter Games 2017". She completed her final professional internship at "Doctors without Borders". She wants to continue to support the newly founded platform with her social commitment and specialist knowledge from her studies and professional experience

The platforms can be found here match4healthcare medis-vs-covid19.de: medis-vs-covid19.de

Article by Lena Notter, student of Journalism and Public Relations (PR)

Photo: match4healthcare