Johns Hopkins challenge: Design better protective gear for frontline health workers fighting Ebola virus

Jhpiego, CBID co-organize event with goal of reducing risk of infection

With the goal of reducing the risk of infection among frontline health workers, Johns Hopkins University will host an Emergency Ebola Design Challenge event this weekend on its Homewood Campus.

Participants from across the university will be 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 by developing new protective gear and improving procedures to reduce the risk of exposure. The disease, which has a fatality rate of more than 50 percent, can be transmitted from person to person by close contact with patients, dead bodies, or infected bodily fluids.

The design challenge—co-organized by Jhpiego, an international nonprofit health group that is affiliated with the university; and the Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design—is open only to Johns Hopkins students, fellows, faculty members, clinicians, administrators, and staff members. Organizers are particularly interested in medical residents and fellows with knowledge of infection control and virology; public health students and others with experience in epidemiology; engineers with backgrounds in fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, and heat transfer; materials scientists; people with experience related to personal protective clothing or equipment; and other highly creative and inventive people from all backgrounds.

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The weekend's activities, including background briefings and design work sessions, will take place in the BME Design Studio inside Clark Hall. Entrants can participate as part of a team or can be assisted in forming a team.

The event begins Friday at 4 p.m. and runs through Sunday afternoon. To learn more, or to register for the event, visit

Only 60 slots are available for this event; applicants will be notified if they have been selected within a day or two of registering, organizers said.