"I am a New Yorker and this is my community and when my community is hurting I step up," said Gaby Mayer, a NYU Medical Student.
Gaby Mayer is stepping up into the fight against Coronavirus. She's one of dozens of NYU medical students who have volunteered to graduate early and begin working in the epicenter of the pandemic.
"They're a short time away from graduation anyway, they're very well trained and positioned to step in so I think it's really one of many great solutions in how we can address this crisis," said Dr. Linda Tewksbury, Associate Dean for Student Affairs, NYU School of Medicine.
Dr. Linda Tewksbury says of the 122 students in the graduating class, nearly 70 students have expressed interest. NYU decided to offer seniors the option because of Governor Cuomo's call to action to get more physicians into the health care system.
"Usually the last semester and the last month or two before graduation are pretty easy taking it easy getting ready for internships, but when the challenge and the need arose the students were incredibly enthusiastic,” said Tewksbury.
Now, officials are racing to finalize paperwork to have the students graduate by April 1st instead of May 20th. They will be put to work as paid interns within a week of that deadline.
"I do think having us there, I hope at least, will be a way of relieving the exhausted residents who are currently working extra shifts," said Mayer.
The students will be working on NYU's Manhattan campus, primarily in the internal and emergency medicine departments. Columbia University moved up medical school graduation given the urgent need for physicians.
"This is the reasons why our students are in medical school, they want to be out, they want to be helping patients, they want to be part of this," said Tewksbury.
"I think that the added benefit of learning is fantastic, but for me the primary motivation is certainly to help," said Mayer.
And as New York fights the greatest number of coronavirus cases in the country, that help will be greatly needed.