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USD Faculty Race to Deliver Medical Equipment to Communities

USD Faculty Race to Deliver Medical Equipment to Communities

Though there may be no professional sports to root for at the moment, an incredible group of USD faculty is giving us more than enough reason to cheer.

Professor Diane Hoffoss from the Department of Mathematics and Professor Farrah Karapetian from the Department of Art, Architecture + Art History are working together with the nonprofit San Diego Collaborative Arts Project (SDCAP) on a project producing emergency ventilators to help treat those affected by COVID-19. On phase one of the project, Karapetian worked with SDCAP and volunteers from the San Diego Burning Man community to assemble six of the 'ApolloBVM' Bag ventilators, inspired by MIT and developed by Rice University. 

Their race to deliver the life-saving equipment started with Karapetian dropping off the first batch of completed ventilators to Ron Lovick of the California Disaster Airlift Response Team (CalDART) at Carlsbad Jet Center, which has generously donated their airfield to use for transportation. Robert Schumacher, a pilot, then took the baton and flew the ventilators to California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) in Sacramento. The first five are for use in their pop-up hospitals around the state. It was a successful first lap!

For the second round, Hoffoss and Karapetian, with amazing cellular production from other SDCAP folk, are assembling another batch of ventilators. This time they are going to be delivered through FEMA to the City of San Diego Mayor's Office of International Affairs that supports the City of Tijuana's General Hospital. More requests are now coming in and, pending donations towards further part production, the next five units are set to go out to the Navajo Nation in New Mexico. Further communities in need of the portable units, such as the USS Medical Ship Mercy, will receive ventilators as the donations and volunteer hours accrue.

Other incredible members of USD community are rallying behind Hoffoss and Karapetian: Steve Saxer, the engineering lab manager, is ready to repurpose the CNC lasers that are used in the lab to produce some of the parts for the ventilators if necessary. Mike Williams of USD's Changemaker Hub donated $500 to the next wave of materials assembling the ventilators.

This is not the first time that people from the USD and SDCAP communities have come together. In 2018, Hoffoss together with Satyan Devadoss (Department of Mathematics) and Gordon Hoople (Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering) led USD students and faculty to work with SDCAP’s build space at CoLab and $10,000 of financing from the organization as well. 

It may not be the summer Olympics, but we are witnessing the greatest kind of teamwork: individuals coming together to deliver life-saving equipment and represent the best qualities that our community has to offer.

If you would like to help, donations to SDCAP are welcome and will go directly to the COVID-19 support effort to produce more ventilators. You can also volunteer if you have access to production equipment including 3D printers and CNC lasers and know how to operate them, promote these efforts on social media, or organize or assemble the ventilators. If you are available for any of these efforts, please submit your contact information on this form.

Ventilators made by USD faculty and SDCAP about to be shipped from the Carlsbad Jet Center by CalDARTVentilators made by USD faculty and SDCAP about to be shipped from the Carlsbad Jet Center by CalDART

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Hugo Werstler
werstlerhu@sandiego.edu
(619) 260-4601

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