COVID-19 hot spots across the nation are receiving 6,000 3D-printed face shields to protect the healthcare technology management (HTM) professionals responsible for managing and maintaining critical medical devices and equipment, such as ventilators. Distributed by AAMI, the first shipment of face shields is planned to arrive in Hagerstown, Md., via volunteer flight organization AeroBridge on Thursday, June 11. On the day of the shipment, AAMI editor in chief Gavin Stern sat down with 24×7 Magazine to share the exclusive details. 

24×7 Magazine: How did AAMI get involved with this endeavor? 

Gavin Stern: In early March 2020, Rick Brennan, founder of the nonprofit Response4Life, was looking for maker spaces throughout the U.S. to manufacture parts for ventilators using idle 3D printers. As part of their research for ventilator specifications and requirements, the two were introduced to AAMI staff members Robert Burroughs, Danielle McGeary, and Brad Schoener of 

The AAMI team provided pointers to ventilator information, and [Response4Life Director of Logistics] Don Landwirth and Robert engaged in a series of conversations around other medical devices or parts in short supply for which maker spaces around the U.S. might be able to quickly ramp up production to fill the need. One of those items is face shields.

24×7: How did AAMI decide which healthcare facilities received PPE? 

Stern: AAMI has a great relationship with all of the regional healthcare technology management (HTM) societies. While these societies are run mutually exclusive from AAMI, we all work closely together. AAMI reached out to the HTM societies in areas of the country that were hit hardest by COVID: New York, Florida, California, Arizona, Michigan, Oregon, and New England. Face shields were sent to hospitals in those areas that requested them. 

24×7: Why is the need for PPE, such as face shields, so great in the HTM sector? 

Stern: HTM professionals work on the front lines of healthcare every day to ensure patients have working and safe medical equipment when they need it most. During the COVID-19 pandemic, HTM professionals have been working alongside of doctors and nurses by helping to set up and test ventilators and other critical medical equipment, find creative solutions through health technology to minimize clinician expose to the virus, and help create and stand up new care units specifically for COVID-19 patients.

24×7: When are the additional shipments slated to take place? 

Stern: All of the 6,000 face shields are being shipped this week. Two thousand are arriving by plane to Hagerstown, Md., plus additional shipments of 3,500 are planned for New York City/Newark, N.J., and 500 to Lawrenceville, Ga.