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Ebola Design Challenge

Johns Hopkins University recently hosted an Emergency Ebola Design Challenge event on its Homewood Campus. Participants were asked to help improve the design of personal protection gear that health workers wear and use while treating patients who are infected with the Ebola virus. The hope is that the new protective gear will help improve procedures to reduce the risk of exposure.

Jill Andrews, wedding gown designer from Baltimore, MD, was one of 65 people taking part in the Ebola suit design challenge - creating an anti-Ebola protection suit.

Jill's interview with Public Radio International can be heard here, or read the full article. As a costume designer for many years, Jill comments that "I had to make costumes all kinds of crazy." Her theatrical experience got her thinking about how workers can take off their suits without having to touch any parts of their bodies.

Her sewing experience was also a big plus. Corsets and hazmat gear are more similar than you might think. "It takes a long time to put on, and takes even longer to take off," says designer Jill Andrews.

Never doubt that a group of thoughtful,

committeed citizens can change the world;

indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.

~Margaret Mead

Photo from National Public Radio (NPR) and Johns Hopkins University - Jhpiego (an international nonprofit health group that is affiliated with the University). OCTOBER 2014


Johns Hopkins University's Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design (CBID) and Jhpiego, a non profit Johns Hopkins affiliate that focuses on international health programs are clearly pleased with the early results of its competition, which led to the submission, in just two months, of more than 1,500 ideas from innovators around the world.

"The Fighting Ebola Grand Challenge embodies our new model of development—bringing together the world's brightest minds to solve our biggest global challenges," USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah said.

Johns Hopkins' improved health care protective suit grew out of a weekend-long design brainstorming event hosted in October by CBID on the university's Homewood campus in Baltimore. The 65 participants represented a wide range of Johns Hopkins students; medical, public health, and engineering experts; and even a few community volunteers with valuable skills and perspectives, including a wedding gown designer and an architect.

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