Face shields for the frontline

BeAM, Carolina’s Be a Maker Network, and medical students are teaming up with Duke and NC State to design and produce face shields for health care workers.

“When looking at the news from other states that were harder hit and their shortage of personal protective equipment, we realized that when coronavirus would eventually become an issue in North Carolina that we would likely face the same PPE shortages,” said Demitra Canoutas, a Carolina medical student who also received a master’s degree in physiology from NC State. “We wanted to proactively start making PPE to lessen that burden.”

That mission first led Canoutas and a group of classmates to Home Depot and Joanne Fabrics for supplies, and then, ultimately, to Carolina’s network of makerspaces, where faculty and staff members were already working toward the same goal.

“Fortunately, [UNC Health] put us in touch with BeAM makerspace, which has the expertise and experience to do this on a more professional and larger scale,” said Alex Gertner, a medical student and doctoral student at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.

Together, the group of medical students and Carolina’s makerspaces — alongside experts from NC State and Duke University — are producing 40,000 face shields that can be used by health care workers on the frontlines of the pandemic.


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