By the time the coronavirus pandemic reached the doorsteps of our institution, UF faculty in nearly every discipline — from Gainesville to Jacksonville to Lake Nona — got to work. They applied their ingenuity to finding solutions to help those on the front lines of the crisis cope with severe shortages and improve patient care techniques.
At UF Health, anesthesiology professors designed an open-source, low-cost ventilator and a respirator mask made from materials already found in medical facilities, scientists fired up their 3D printers to produce face shields for health care workers and nasal swabs for COVID-19 testing, and experts in simulation at the College of Medicine created practice drills for care providers in UF Health emergency departments and intensive care units to help minimize the spread of the coronavirus. UF researchers shifted focus on a dime — searching now for effective ways to fight the novel coronavirus. Strong partnerships formed throughout UF, including at the College of Engineering, the School of Architecture, the Marston Science Library and the School of the Arts, in a unified effort to battle the dire challenges our nation was facing
“I continue to be struck by the selfless commitment from everyone at our institution,” said David R. Nelson, MD, senior vice president for health affairs at UF and president of UF Health. “The all-hands-on-deck attitude toward problem-solving combined with a compassionate and innovative spirit in the midst of this history-making pandemic is nothing short of inspiring.”
From left: UF Health workers wear respirator masks designed by department of anesthesiology staff. The masks are made from materials already found in medical facilities. | Samsun Lampotang, PhD, who holds the Joachim S. Gravenstein Professorship in Anesthesiology at UF, is leading a worldwide network of coders, engineers, physicians and ham radio operators in designing a pandemic ventilator that can be built from hardware store parts such as PVC pipe and lawn-sprinkler valves for less than $250. | At UF Health, experts in interactive medical simulation conducted realistic drills in hospital units to help front-line health care workers practice new approaches, like intubating a COVID-19 patient.