For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

Drexel Team Comes Together to Make Personal Protective Equipment for Local Hospitals and Health Systems

April 29, 2020

As the well-documented shortages of personal protective equipment place greater risk on those in healthcare, an incredible team from across Drexel University is moving quickly to address this challenge for our local heroes. 

Ellen Bass, PhD

An interdisciplinary team of faculty, students and staff from Drexel University, including Ellen J. Bass, PhD and Arun Ramakrishnan, PhD from the College of Nursing and Health Professions, have come together to design and build face-shields for Philadelphia and regional hospitals and health systems. Their work is focused on the “AJ Flex Shield,” which is a reusable and flexible face-shield for the front-line healthcare personnel. Ramakrishnan and Bass collaborated to optimize the head band design based on time and ease of assembly, better protection, durability and comfort.

“I am humbled by the courage of our front-line healthcare workers,” said Bass, “so many of whom are our alumni. As an engineer working in the College of Nursing and Health Professions, it is my honor to help healthcare workers at a time when they should be focusing on the health of their patients, and not having to focus on their own health and safety. It is gratifying to help and to see so many Dragons, as well as industry partners step up.”

Leveraging 3D printing resources across the University and the region, the approved prototype was evaluated by several clinicians regionally. With initial deliveries to the University of Pennsylvania Health System, Einstein Health System, and St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, the team plans to increase production and eventually deliver thousands of these highly needed shields.

“I am honored to be a part of this collaborative effort.” said Ramakrishnan, “3D printing has gained so much popularity worldwide during this pandemic, especially for printing face-shields. Along with a network of fellow makers, who are working non-stop, we added several 3D printers to ramp up production. As a biomedical engineer, knowing that these devices are helping keep our front-line healthcare workers safe, makes this endeavor so much more rewarding.”


From request to initial production, this team has pulled together a critically needed resource in a week. Drexel University has acknowledged their incredible efforts by awarding them the Drexel Rapid Response Research & Development Fund Award. Their efforts were also celebrated and honored by a local news station.