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The Pennsylvania Health Care Association (PHCA) and Harrisburg University of Science and Technology have partnered to provide long-term care workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 epidemic with 3D-printed face shields amidst a statewide shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE).

The Advanced Manufacturing Program at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology is producing medical face shields to support health care workers fighting COVID-19. PHCA will distribute the face shields to caregivers in skilled nursing facilities, assisted living residences and personal care homes.

“At a time when our Department of Health is recommending universal, around-the-clock masking for health care providers, the supply of masks and face shields is running dangerously low,” said Zach Shamberg, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Health Care Association. “But this partnership shows the true power of collaboration and innovation. Harrisburg University is taking an important and much-needed step to support our region’s caregivers in long-term care facilities who are risking it all to care for Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable residents. We cannot thank the university enough.”

The medical face shields are printed using Harrisburg University’s Fortus 450 Stratasys 3D printer. The initiative is led by Dr. Charles (Chip) A. Shearrow of the HU faculty.  He leads the B.S. Advanced Manufacturing degree program at Harrisburg University.  He is joined by his son, Charles A. Shearrow II, and Matt Walters,  They are both students in the advanced manufacturing undergraduate degree program. The 3D models were supplied by Stratasys, who has formed a coalition of 3D-printer owners to produce these shields.

“In the midst of the immense challenges faced by all Pennsylvanians, we’re grateful to put to work the innovation of our university and faculty to supply more face shields and provide support to health care workers,” said Dr. Eric Darr, president of Harrisburg University of Science and Technology. “With a severe shortage of protective personal equipment statewide, innovative solutions like these are critically necessary to support the caring healthcare professionals and their patients.”

The first batch of 3D-printed face shields will be used by long-term care workers at Providence Place Senior Living in Dover, Pennsylvania.

PHCA advocates for compassionate, quality, long-term care for Pennsylvania’s elderly and disabled residents, with more than 400 long-term care and senior service provider member organizations throughout the state.

Advanced Manufacturing is also known as the “Digital Factory”, “Smart Factory” or “Industry 4.0”, which is the application of digital technologies to the manufacturing process.

The Advanced Manufacturing Program includes technologies such as Autonomous Robots, System Integrations, Internet of Things (IoT), Simulation, Additive Manufacturing, Cloud Computing, Augmented Reality (AR), Big Data, Cybersecurity, Digital Twins, Compliant Robots, Industrial Networking, Material Testing and the mainstreaming of New Processes.

The program is centered on hands-on activities to provide a practical understanding of processes, equipment, software and materials. The scope of the Advanced Manufacturing Program is to follow the Cradle to Grave Gated Engineering Life Cycle used at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, providing structure for work and a sense of social responsibility.  For more information on the Advanced Manufacturing degree program at Harrisburg University, visit the following link.

About the Pennsylvania Health Care Association

The Pennsylvania Health Care Association (PHCA) is a statewide advocacy organization for Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable residents and their providers of care. Our members include for-profit and nonprofit skilled nursing facilities, personal care homes and assisted living residences. Together, we represent more than 500 long-term care and senior service providers and more than 50,000 elderly and disabled individuals. For more information, please call 717-221-1800 or visit phca.org.

About Harrisburg University

Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Harrisburg University is a private nonprofit university offering bachelor and graduate degree programs in science, technology, and math fields. For more information on the University’s affordable demand-driven undergraduate and graduate programs, call 717.901.5146 or email, Connect@HarrisburgU.edu.

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