CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Medical providers around the world are fighting the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and some Illini alum are working right there with them.

“We have learned about these things happening in theory, but seeing it live is a whole different situation, says U of I grad Zain Nayani.

With that said, Nayani might be speaking for many med school students everywhere right now. He and Bianca Mulaikal graduated from the U of I just a few years ago.

Now, they are med students at the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine (CCOM). The two are part of a COVID-19 task force there.

“We’re kind of seeing a different side of healthcare, and how important organizations with teamwork really are to meet the needs of these patients,” says Nayani. “So, while we’re not getting the direct medical training, we’re seeing a perhaps more valuable experience in how to actually be a part of the health care community.”

Their job is to help lessen the burden on healthcare workers in the Chicago area. They say even though it’s different from what med school typically looks like, it’s an invaluable experience.

“As healthcare providers, we’re always kind of just focused on healthcare, but seeing the economic and social impact that everything’s having, too…just trying to play our part within that…has been a really interesting experience,” says Mulaikal.

Nayani and Mulaikal say seeing all sectors of the healthcare industry united during this time is amazing, which brings us to two other recent U of I grads on the front lines of fighting COVID-19.

Kaitlin Krumwiede and Chandler Eggleston work for a health IT firm called Wolters Kluwer.

“Even though we’re not directly seeing patients or…directly in a healthcare setting, we see a lot of what goes on kind of through the eyes of those people because we consult with them on a daily basis,” says Krumwiede.

Part of the job requires creating education for COVID-19, and giving that easily accessible info to health organizations and patients.

“Just knowing that we can adapt to something so quickly and reach a large audience in such a short amount of time is awesome,” says Eggleston. “That’s the work that I wanted to be doing.”