Vermonter launches effort to collect used graduation gowns to protect hospital workers


Health care workers on the frontlines of the COVID19 pandemic are in such desperate need for personal protective gear that they’re using trash bags as protective gowns.

Than Moore, a physician’s assistant at the University of Vermont Medical Center, came up with the idea of repurposing used graduation gowns to fill the need. In the week since he launched Gowns4Good, he’s has already received requests for more than 10,000 old gowns for health care providers.

“To say I’m not a little more nervous going to work would be false,” Moore said “It’s a different environment and our protocols are changing every day.”

Moore works in the emergency department at UVM Medical Center and is familiar with the dire need for personal protective equipment. At the same time, he’s noticed how the pandemic has cancelled graduation ceremonies everywhere.

“The solution to solving both of those has been to try to get the unused graduation gowns into the hands of healthcare providers,” Moore said.

Moore says graduation gowns are a good fit for health care workers.

“It has sleeves and is longer in length and if you wear it backwards , it can have a high rising neck,” he said. “That gives it the added coverage to actually provide protection on these critical zones.”

Moore’s goal is to help as many people on the front lines as he can. But the first shipment of gowns will go to the New York City area, where the need is greatest. To honor the graduates paying it forward, they get a small logo to add to their cap.

“You can wear it with pride to signify what were thanking you for, which is donating your gown to those in need,” Moore said.

You can donate an old graduation gown at To offset shipping costs, make a donation here.

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