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Dr. Bobby Mukkamala
Dr. Bobby Mukkamala
In the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Bobby Mukkamala—an otolaryngologist - head and neck surgeon—jumped into action and found several ways to support the Flint Community.
He heard people were reluctant to be swabbed for COVID-19 tests. With his job, he was used to swabbing noses, so he began teaching others administering the tests how to do so in a less painful, more comfortable way. Dr. Bobby began volunteering at testing facilities and mobile testing vans all over his community.
“It felt great to be useful when everything was shut down and despair and fear was everywhere,” said Bobby. “I saw my peers on the front lines fearing for their own lives and that of their families while continuing to take care of the sickest among us. I did not have to make that sacrifice but wanted to do anything I could to prevent excess loss of life and stress on the health care system.”
After helping with test sites, Bobby felt inspired to make masks with his son, a bioengineering student at the University of Michigan. He had a dozen 3D printers he had purchased to donate to Flint schools, but they weren’t yet ready for them, so together, the two started printing N95-equivalent masks when they were in short supply.
“We set them up in our dining room and ran them around the clock for weeks. Healthcare workers would stop by the house at all hours to get some protection since their lives were truly at risk,” he said.
Dr. Bobby also distributed materials and printers throughout the community so other local makers could help grow the supply of personal protection equipment (PPE). When PPE was more plentiful, he shifted his work to vaccination efforts.
“I was concerned about the level of politicization of science I was seeing. For the first time ever, I saw the widespread influence of politics on individuals' health care decisions,” he said. “I did whatever I could to share the actual science so my community could make the important vaccination decision in a way that was based on our best available data instead of the most popular media.”
Bobby’s volunteer efforts aren’t limited to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mukkamala is a Flint staple, and he also strives to help revitalize Flint and keep Genesee County. He served with the Community Foundation of Greater Flint and the CRIM Fitness Foundation.
He serves with United Way and Big Brothers Big Sisters, volunteers with the Health Occupations Student Association at Powers Catholic High School, and tutors high school students for the ACT test.
Bobby has also served on the Genesee County Medical Society, Michigan State Medical Society, and the American Medical Association, Additionally, he is an appointee to Governor Whitmer’s Protect Michigan Commission.