FAU to Make Thousands of Face Shields for Baptist Health South Florida
FAU re-tooled their facilities to leverage the opportunity to make face shields much faster than are currently being manufactured. They plan to share the blueprint for this personal protection equipment broadly with other academic institutions as well as industry. (Photo by Alex Dolce)
With major shortfalls of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers around the world, a team from Florida Atlantic University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science and Institute for Sensing and Embedded Network Systems (I-SENSE), one of the university’s four research pillars, have identified a simple solution to rapidly produce protective face shields for Baptist Health South Florida, the largest health care organization in the region with 11 hospitals, including Boca Raton Regional Hospital.
The inexpensive, disposable face shield developed by the FAU team only requires clear polyester plastic, elastic fabric bands, and a laser cutter. Unlike 3D printed solutions, the process developed by FAU is simple and quick. Baptist Health South Florida has requested an initial order of 4,000 face shields, which the FAU team expects to have completed within a week and will be followed by another order of 4,000 face shields.
Leaders from Baptist Health South Florida approached FAU leadership to help them ramp up their acquisition of PPEs for their health care force, which includes approximately 23,000 employees, more than 4,000 physicians and more than 100 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties.
“Our colleagues at Florida Atlantic University are at the forefront of innovation and now more than ever we need to think ‘outside-of-the-box’ to come up with solutions to address this global pandemic,” said Mark Coticchia, vice president for innovation at Baptist Health South Florida. “Our collaboration with FAU’s College of Engineering and Computer Science and I-SENSE is a great example of academia and industry coming together to improve patient care for the greater good.”
The FAU team answered the call for innovation with expediency creating a prototype within an hour. They have since enhanced the prototype, which is meant to be worn over facemasks to provide additional protection from droplets from coughs and sneezes. Face shields are designated as class I medical devices by the United States Food and Drug Administration.
The FAU team re-tooled their facilities to leverage the opportunity to make face shields much faster than are currently being manufactured and they plan to share the blueprint for this PPE broadly with other academic institutions as well as industry.
“Sometimes, simplicity can be the best solution to a problem,” said Stella Batalama, Ph.D., dean of FAU’s College of Engineering and Computer Science. “We are truly humbled to do our part to work with Baptist Health South Florida to protect health care workers on the frontline of this COVID-19 outbreak as well the patients they serve.”
FAU is looking for public, private and industry support for this lifesaving project. For more information or to make a contribution, contact Batalama at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We are incredibly grateful to FAU for its innovation and ability to provide this much-needed equipment to help protect our patients and employees,” said Samer Fahmy, M.D., vice president of quality and informatics at Boca Raton Regional Hospital.