Throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, designers have played an integral role in creating solutions to support the healthcare community now and in the future. From developing respirator masks and producing them for Minnesota hospitals, to devising new methods for mask storage and decontamination, College of Design students, professors, researchers, and staff members are addressing current problems and pushing toward more equitable systems and products in a post-pandemic world.
Design in Action
Driven by the acute need for N95 masks in hospitals, student volunteers worked to assemble the University’s innovative “MNmask” to provide much-needed personal protective equipment to local hospitals.
Associate Professor Linsey Griffin (Apparel Design) worked with an interdisciplinary research team at the University to design two respirator mask prototypes to be close to an N95-equivalent.
Motivated by the increasing burden and health risk posed by used N95 masks, Dr. Abe Jacob, Chief Quality Officer at M. Health Fairview, turned to the College of Design for help devising improved methods for mask storage and decontamination. The team, including faculty members Ehsan Naderi (Product Design), Abimbola Asojo (Interior Design), and Jessica Rossi-Mastracci (Landscape Architecture); staff members Justin Kindelspire and Molly Sanford; and Dean Carol Strohecker, has created a better storage solution.
The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed inequities based on race and class that have been ignored for too long. Designers have great potential to work with underserved communities to build a more humane, equitable, and sustainable future that works for everyone. The post-pandemic world discussion series invites practitioners and community members to connect and explore ideas each month for short and long-term solutions.