Milton Hershey School Alumna Serves on COVID-19 Front Lines in Connecticut
While these are extraordinary times—we are extraordinary people. Many of our Milton Hershey School graduates are on the front lines of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and they are bringing hope to others. These are their stories.
Dr. Aisha Stroop ’94 is an emergency medicine physician at Greenwich Hospital in Greenwich, Connecticut. In her nearly two decades working in emergency medicine, she said she and her colleagues have never experienced anything like coronavirus (COVID-19).
“I worked through H1N1, Hurricane Sandy, every really bad snowstorm and hurricane, and Ebola. We were prepared for those. But this, we were not prepared for at all,” she said. “It was as if overnight, it just exploded. We went from zero cases to 90 percent of the people in the ER having [COVID-19].”
On top of fighting a virus that has a range of complexities, she and her colleagues are also fighting public opinion that is just as complex.
“Social media and the internet have good and bad advantages,” she said. “There is a lot of false information out there and when you don’t know anybody who has the virus, people think it’s a hoax. Many people aren’t taking this seriously and it’s frustrating because people are losing their lives. If they spent a day in the emergency department, maybe they would understand.”
Despite the many challenges associated with this pandemic, the community surrounding Greenwich Hospital has stepped up to rally behind its frontline workers—bringing in generous food donations for hospital employees, clapping outside of the hospital at 7 p.m., and checking in through text messages and phone calls with encouraging words.
“As emergency medicine physicians, you have to have this fearless approach to your job. But we’re all moms or dads or family members. And I think all of that adds to the cohesiveness of trying to get through this,” she said.
Aisha normally works part-time, but under the circumstances, she’s picking up extra shifts and working around 30-hours a week.
“We are the first line, literally, when it comes to life and death situations. We have a tremendous impact on how the care of patients will proceed,” she said. “Right now, there is no standardized treatment for [COVID-19], so our heads are spinning as to what to do.”
Aisha came to Milton Hershey School at the age of 11. She learned to be independent and gained confidence in making decisions on her own. She also learned leadership skills through her participation with the track and field team—where she was the PIAA District 3 champion for seven consecutive years, earning multiple gold medals.
“MHS blessed me with an extended family that will be in my life forever,” she said.
After graduating from MHS, Aisha earned a bachelor’s degree in human biology from Brown University, where she participated in track and field and was a member of the Heptagonal Championship Team, the Ivy League women’s track champions. She went on to complete a medical degree at the Penn State College of Medicine, where she won the Lehigh Valley Hospital Community Service Award, awarded to a medical student who displayed exemplary service in the community; and the Dean’s Award, an academic scholarship awarded to a college student who displayed academic excellence. Aisha specialized in emergency medicine by completing a residency at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in New Jersey. Following her residency, she was an emergency medicine physician attending at JFK Medical Center and Nyack Hospital, both in New York.
“[My career] is very rewarding, because when you go home and you know you actually saved someone’s life, you can’t get any better than that.”
Do you know of an alum on the front lines of the COVID-19 outbreak? Is it you or someone you love? Share your stories with us! Submit them here ➡️ https://bit.ly/2VhrOT4