- Daniel Lan and Jalen Xing are high school students creating homemade face shields for hospitals.
- Lan’s mother is a registered nurse at Kaiser Permanente, and he found it difficult to watch her ask for PPE donations on the Internet.
- Lan figured out how to create face shields at home, and partnered with Xing.
- Now, their initiative Students for Hospitals has donated 661 face shields and built 974 more.
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My name is Daniel Lan, and I am a senior at Westmont High School who started the initiative Students for Hospitals.
My mother is a registered nurse at Kaiser, and it was difficult for me to watch her ask for donations on the Internet due to a lack of PPE.
At first, I tried to contact different organisations to help support her; seeing other people create 3D printed designs for face shields inspired me to make face shields following the NIH approved designs. However, after trying out several designs, I realised that the NIH designs required tedious assembling processes and could not be manufactured at home easily. Thus, I created a new design using the materials I had at home to compensate for both the lack of a 3D printer and the other materials.
I first started with using gallon water bottles as a shield and its plastic handle with rubber bands as an elastic. After revising my designs with my mother, which involved reviewing ideas for using printable inkjet paper as a face cover and examining the face shields she used in the hospital, I finally decided on a similar design. I posted a short video on Instagram, hoping to spread the message. Unfortunately, the video did not gather many responses.
Although initially discouraging, I persevered, and after discussing the idea in detail with my counselor, she helped me to broadcast the idea to other high schoolers. In the beginning, only five other students joined my cause; many felt sceptical of assembling fully-functional face shields for hospitals by hand.
However, unlike face masks, where we can’t ensure the quality of the manufacturer, face shields more effectively block the transmission of the COVID aerosols generated when people cough or sneeze, as we used the same quality of the Apollo paper as the hospitals. At the time, the dire need for face shields led desperate health care workers to use plastic bags for face shields and bandanas for masks. Thus, we were determined to support our community and create a better substitute for face shields. Our team initially consisting of only two members grew to include 15 students from various high schools.
Finding a collaborator
My name is Jalen Xing, and I am a junior at Monta Vista High school who partnered with Daniel for Students for Hospitals. At first, I was doubtful of the idea Daniel pitched to me: hand-made face shields. While I thought that he had a great idea to help our community, I was concerned about the various regulations involved. Specifically, as these face shields were going directly to health care workers, quality control played a huge factor.
To ensure the quality of our face shields, I determined an experimental method to test the effectiveness of the design. Thus, we sent out a small sample of fifty face shields to one department at Kaiser Permanente, awaited their response, and confirmed the effectiveness of the face shields. To me, the successful affirmation demonstrated the large potential for Students for Hospitals and reduced my doubts about the student-run initiative. After getting the “proof of concept,” we were determined to further expand our initiative.
How we fundraised
The fundraising branch mainly focuses on gathering donations from various institutes such as PTA communities, church organisations, companies, schools, and friends. In the beginning, we received little to no funding because we did not have much to showcase. However, after receiving approval for our design from the nurses at Kaiser, we decided that they needed to build more recognition for their cause in order to raise more support. Through outreach to different communities, Students for Hospitals raised over $US2,500 in about a month through Paypal and Gofundme.
How manufacturing and distribution work
For manufacturing, all the supplies are delivered to Jalen’s house to be organised. Most of the supplies come in shipments of 500, and Daniel, Isak, and Jalen would organise the materials for 50 face shields and deliver them to 10 other students while social distancing. Since the team consists of students from different areas, Daniel and Isak split up the delivery to members. Students manufacturing the shields would finish by a specific deadline, and then Daniel and Isak would pick up all the face shields, quality check them, and donate them to the hospitals.
What our outreach looks like
To publicise our initiative and gain funding to produce more face shields, Students for Hospitals took to social media and contacted businesses for donations. Ella Nghiem and Natalie Eng worked with several platforms, such as Instagram, Facebook, Nextdoor, and created their own website, to raise awareness and keep donors and prospective members connected with frequent updates. By maximizing their outreach through online networkings, they averaged over 400 views a week on Instagram and over 1,000 views on Facebook.
How we’ve organised ourselves
Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, the team holds Zoom sessions for group meetings. In each meeting, they discuss the upcoming goals and updates on any new information. They then break down the specific goals for each branch and assign tasks to specific members to be completed until their next meeting.
Our plans for the future
As the demand for PPE slowly decreases, donation drives such as the Stanford PPE Drive and hospitals are tightening their requirements to only NIH approved designs. Unlike the Stanford PPE Drive, many small, local health institutes still lack donations. Therefore, Students for Hospitals is currently aiming to donate face shields to these institutes, such as smaller hospitals, local clinics, and nursing homes. So far we have donated 661 face shields and manufactured 974 more. They are also storing a portion of their face shields in order to prepare for the expected surge in COVID patients in the autumn. In the downtime during the summer, Students for Hospitals will actively assemble 1000 more face shields to prepare for the second potential COVID wave.