What the Doctor Ordered

Giving back to Purdue to move forward in the COVID-19 era

Before the first case of COVID-19 hit in the U.S. in January 2020, Purdue alumnus Dr. Christopher Kapp was finishing a post-doctoral fellowship in pulmonary and critical care medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital (JHH), the teaching hospital and biomedical research facility of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Dr. Kapp was looking forward to assuming his future role as a clinical instructor at the hospital in July and his wedding in August.

By mid-March, the World Health Organization declared the spread of COVID-19 a global pandemic. In the United States, a national emergency ensued, and suddenly Dr. Kapp and his colleagues found themselves thrust onto the frontlines battling the novel coronavirus, helping to care for patients while attempting to keep themselves safe from COVID-19. 

“We all work in intensive care now,” he recounted. “It was a game-changer. Within the hospital, everything became COVID-centric. It was incredible how everything changed so quickly.”

One thing that didn’t change in the thick of the coronavirus fight was his dedication to Purdue, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in movement and sports sciences in the College of Health and Human Sciences in 2009 before the start of his medical school training and career. 

Like Johns Hopkins, in early March Purdue launched its transformative campus-wide rapid response to the global pandemic, mobilizing people, facilities, expertise, and resources to help fight the spread of COVID-19.

As Purdue researchers leaped into the fray to develop testing devices and oral medicines to fight the virus, Purdue has also created new giving opportunities to support its comprehensive coronavirus response and research efforts.

While Dr. Kapp had given to various areas annually since graduation—including the Purdue Cancer Research Center, pre-med student organizations, and the John Purdue Club—he responded with a gift to Purdue’s then-new Coronavirus/COVID-19 Research Fund.

“Giving to Purdue hit close to home,” says Kapp, who grew up in the West Lafayette area where he began his education, earned a degree, and where both of his parents work in leadership roles at the University. 

“Purdue has always been an important part of my life,” Dr. Kapp says. “I take great pride in Purdue as a preeminent research and academic institution, and I wanted to give back to the University that gave me the education and opportunity to do what I love and where I can make the greatest contribution.” 

As he continues to do just that on the frontlines at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Kapp remains hopeful—for both a vaccine on the horizon and for all universities reopening in the fall. He is particularly eager to return to his alma mater for Boilermaker football and visiting his folks. 

“Like everyone, I’m in a wait-and-see mode,” Kapp says. “I know everybody is doing the best they can in this situation, and we’re all trying to make the best out of a bad situation.”  

In the meantime, he travels from Baltimore to Chicago frequently to visit his fiancée, a physician at Northwestern University. They’re still getting married in August but postponing the larger celebration with family and friends to a safer, more appropriate time. 

Learn more: You can go here to find examples of COVID-19 research being conducted by Purdue faculty.

Caption: Dr. Chris Kapp, right, is with Michael Velaetis, a physician assistant, wearing their personal protective gear in-between COVID-19 patient care visits in the main building at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland. In addition to frontline work in the COVID-19 global pandemic, Dr. Kapp donated to support coronavirus-related research at Purdue University.

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