Local Teen Launches COVID Connectors

The program allows sick patients in Rhode Island hospitals to talk to loved ones who are at home.

Local teenager Kaya Suner, whose parents are emergency room doctors, has partnered with the Rhode Island Medical Society to provide local hospitals with gently used iPhones and iPads. Patients with the Coronavirus can use the devices to stay connected with their loved ones while stuck in the hospital. The program is called COVID Connectors.


How did you come up with COVID Connectors?

I came up with COVID Connectors with help from my parents. I originally wanted to make masks, however my sewing skills are sparse. I called my mom asking how to sew masks and she explained to me the real need right now is for (Apple) devices. This is due to the ban on visitation in hospitals throughout the country. We partnered with the Rhode Island Medical Society to help make it possible for sick patients to connect with their loved ones.

What is COVID Connectors?  And how does it benefit patients in the hospital? 

COVID Connectors is a service that makes it possible for people to donate their used devices to the Rhode Island Medical Society. They clean all the devices and distribute them throughout hospitals in Rhode Island. Patients have been dying without the opportunity to say goodbye to their loved ones and I want to change that.

How can someone donate their device?

Donating a device is simple. Visit covidconnectors.org and click ‘donate a device.’ All of the needed information on how to donate is outlined on the website.

Is there a way to clean the device both internally and externally? 

Yes! You can follow steps on how to wipe your device of all personal content on our website. Once the device is received by the Rhode Island Medical Society, it is cleaned and sanitized for the hospitals. Then, our volunteer ‘COVID Communication Champions’ take over to make sure the devices are going to the right patients. You can apply to be a champion on the website.

How long has the program been running? How many devices have been donated so far? 

The program has been running for about a week now and we have netted nearly 100 devices already.

Devices can be mailed in or dropped off at the Rhode Island Medical Society located at 405 Promenade St., Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Click here to learn more about COVID Connectors and how to donate a device. 


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