Unmasking the Solution - Personal Protective Equipment in a Time of Need

By Lauren Schlau

Who do people call upon when they needs things to get done, need a solution to a problem, have a need to help make things better for others?  The answer to all these of course is Rotary!  Not surprisingly, our LA5 Rotary club was contacted recently for just such a request – and we are responding as part of the solution!

A contact came to LA5 member Jared Smith through Damon D’Amore, a business professional and past LA5 speaker who also knows several of our members.  Jared is president of his company SoCal Litigation Support Services, Inc., which develops legal demonstratives using high-tech 3-D printing to create medical exhibits for Jury Trials.  With courtrooms being closed now, the printers are idle.   

​Behind the request is Healthcare Heroes a coalition of healthcare, tech and social impact professionals who are in dire need of personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare facility and nursing home providers. This also came to Rotary as we are a non-for profit organization. As the group indicates on its outreach “…we still do not have the medical supplies necessary to treat patients in a surge, nor do we have a reliable source of resupply for hospital protective equipment for our staff and physicians," according to Chris VanGorder President/CEO Scripps Health.

Given Jared’s printer capacity and his astute problem solving ability, he agreed to spearhead a project to use the 3-D printers to produce surgical masks and shields for Healthcare Heroes to distribute to Los Angeles area institutions critically needing them.  However the scale of this endeavor, over 100,000 masks to be assembled and packaged, requires help.

Calling Rotary! Jared contacted LA5 leaders including President Rick to enlist Rotarians who could help with logistics, legal, and various related aspects. As well the newly established LA5 Cares Committee, Chaired by Brenda Wiewel, is also involved and will help coordinate Rotarians for mask assembly and with moving them to and from the printer location. Jared also has developed a short video describing the assembly process which can be viewed here.

Jared noted that a project of this scale has not been attempted by any other Rotary Club to his knowledge. “This is our time to shine! Giving and service is in our nature and this offers us the opportunity to come together for good in this crisis,” he said.

Members should be notified within the next two weeks via El Rodeo, e-mail and social messaging about our involvement. Please consider getting involved.