Campus News

UK College of Design Assists in PPE Production for UK HealthCare

UK College of Design has been able to offer its skill set to help produce face shields.
UK College of Design has been able to offer its skill set to help produce face shields.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 1, 2020) — In response to the high demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) in the health care industry due to COVID-19, the University of Kentucky College of Design has been able to offer its skill set to help produce face shields.

The College of Design has become the hub and point of contact for the design and production of face shields — the ones that cover the forehead down as well as the ones that go from the neck to the top of the head, each one serving a different purpose to prevent the spread of germs.

Joe Brewer, director of facilities in the college, has spearheaded the effort to synchronize members of campus to help with this production. With input from Chief Technology Officer/Associate CIO Jason McReynolds and Assistant Chief Medical Officer for Inpatient Service Ashley Montgomery-Yates at UK HealthCare, the College of Design developed a prototype and is now working on the final iteration.

The College of Design will produce as many face shields as possible until the demand is met or until mass production is possible. Afterward, the college will pivot to the next PPE device that UK HealthCare deems essential.

“The global magnitude of the coronavirus has been daunting, but the silver lining is that we have been able to put product design into practice to offer some much-needed relief, even before our new program launches,” said Dean of the College of Design Mitzi Vernon. "Designers are nimble and can change on the fly to respond to crisis.”

A new Product Design program is proposed to start in Fall 2020 in the College of Design.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.