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MEDIA ADVISORY: Johns Hopkins Hosts Virtual Design Challenge to Address COVID-19

March 26, 2020
CONTACT: Jill Rosen
Cell: 443-547-8805
jrosen@jhu.edu jhunews@jhu.edu

WHAT: More than 1,200 people from 25 countries will compete in a five-day virtual design challenge to find innovative solutions to challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Teams will try to engineer solutions for problems ranging from how to protect front-line healthcare workers and their families to minimizing transmission of the virus to addressing shortages of critical healthcare and medical equipment to ensuring that people have accurate information to help them make informed decisions.

Each team will be assigned an expert mentor who will help think through design issues. Teams also will have access to lectures and live Q&A sessions with experts. Competitors with the best ideas will be invited to work with Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design (CBID) to secure resources and contacts to further their design concept.

WHEN: 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 26 through 8 p.m., Monday, March 30.

The event’s live kickoff, (watch it here: https://wse.zoom.us/j/143936487,) is set for 5 to 8 p.m. today, Thursday, March 26. On Monday, March 30, judging will take place all day, and selected teams will present their projects from 5 to 7 p.m. The event concludes with highlights of top concepts and closing statements, parts of which will be live-streamed for those not registered for the event. The organizers are recording most of the event via Zoom, and will make recordings available via a shared folder.

WHO: This event is organized by graduate students, fellows, staff, and faculty in the Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design (CBID), which designs and develops solutions to health care challenges. CBID teams have developed devices in response to the Zika crisis, the opioid abuse epidemic, as well as for cervical cancer treatment, maternal and newborn care, and more. CBID’s 2014 Emergency Ebola Design Challenge resulted in an improved protective suit for healthcare workers that is now licensed to DuPont. Concepts emerging from their 2016 Zika Design Challenge are being commercialized by VechTech, a Johns Hopkins spinout company. Funding support for this event and follow-on development of ideas has been provided by Johns Hopkins CBID and a grant from the Johns Hopkins University president. Other partners include faculty at UCSF, Standford University, and Boston University.

WHY: Since the COVID-19 outbreak began in China in January, more than 480,000 cases across 198 countries have been confirmed, and more than 22,000 people have died.  There is an acute need for better solutions to critical needs in care.

HOW: Members of the news media are invited to cover the event via Zoom. Experts and organizers also are available for live interviews via Zoom.

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