Clothing Closet for OPH Patients

Dana McGinnis-Thomas with several boxes of clothing donations

Should patients at the Vision Institute need a change of clothes, a small clothing closet is now available.

A long chest of drawers with one drawer open showing clothing

This service is thanks to a series of events, starting when Caterina Massimino, an ophthalmic imager, told patient navigator Dana McGinnis-Thomas that a patient’s catheter bag had leaked while at his appointment, soiling his clothes. The employee mentioned that patients often have soiled clothing for various reasons. This was the first McGinnis-Thomas had heard of these situations. She learned that patients were provided with oversized paper scrub tops and bottoms.

After some discussion, the two women figured out a plan to make patients feel more secure and at ease leaving the office. They thought starting a small clothing closet would be better than providing paper scrubs that are usually oversized and degrading in which to leave the office.

As fate would have it, McGinnis-Thomas then received an email – along with 100+ other recipients – from Leora Flax on behalf of Dress for Success Pittsburgh. Flax wrote that a clothing company called Unique Vibes was liquidating their stock and had reached out to her to see if she wanted about 10 boxes of t-shirts, hoodies, hats, and face masks. Since Dress for Success Pittsburgh did not have the capacity, Flax was inquiring whether a shelter or crisis center could use some emergency clothing.

McGinnis-Thomas responded quickly to the email and was connected with Rolf Romani from Unique Vibes. “After speaking with Rolf, I realized our idea of a small clothing closet was turning into something a lot larger with the size of the donation,” McGinnis-Thomas said. She knew she had to capitalize on the opportunity, so she reached out to the Eye & Ear Foundation. “I was quickly given the approval that this project would service the community and have an immense impact for those individuals in need,” she said.

Romani – who resides in Germany – put McGinnis-Thomas in touch with the warehouse in Greensburg, PA. With the help of Craig Smith, EEF Development Officer, 18 boxes were transported to the Vision Institute.

This is such a wonderful outcome for patients and families visiting the Vision Institute,” said EEF CEO Lawton Snyder. “It speaks to the outstanding care and attention of the Vision Institute team, in particular Caterina Massimino and Dana McGinnis-Thomas, to recognize this need. Treating people with care, and providing them with dignity in difficult situations, is what we see Dana do day after day.”