How to Leverage Collaborations Between the BME Community and Local Hospitals to Address Critical Personal Protective Equipment Shortages During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Ann Biomed Eng. 2020 Sep;48(9):2281-2284. doi: 10.1007/s10439-020-02580-3. Epub 2020 Jul 24.


The global COVID-19 pandemic disrupted supply chains across the world, resulting in a critical shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline healthcare workers. To preserve PPE for healthcare providers treating COVID-19 positive patients and to reduce asymptomatic transmission, the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Colorado, Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus collaborated with National Jewish Health to design and test patterns for cloth face coverings. A public campaign to sew and donate the final pattern was launched and over 2500 face coverings have been donated as a result. Now that nearly three million cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the United States, many state and local governments are requiring cloth face coverings be worn in public. Here, we present the collaborative design and testing process, as well as the final pattern for non-patient facing hospital workers and community members alike.

Keywords: COVID-19; Cloth face covering; Personal protective equipment.

Publication types

  • Editorial

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus*
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • COVID-19
  • Colorado / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Coronavirus Infections / transmission
  • Health Personnel
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Intersectoral Collaboration
  • Masks / supply & distribution*
  • Pandemics / prevention & control*
  • Personal Protective Equipment / supply & distribution*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / prevention & control*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / transmission
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Textiles
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Universal Design