Measure Twice, Cut Once

Published in Hopkins Medicine - Summer 2020

In normal times, Johns Hopkins medical student Isabel Lake would be in class. Instead, on an afternoon in March, the second-year medical student sat in a large room in the Johns Hopkins Health System Consolidated Service Center measuring and cutting straps for face shields that will help protect Johns Hopkins health care workers from coronavirus infection. 

“We were looking for something to do and ways to help out,” says Lake, who arrived at the storage facility with classmates Joe Broderick and Lyla Atta. Like others in the warehouse, they sat at least six feet from each other as they worked. 

The medical students were among dozens of Johns Hopkins volunteers who either created the face shields or assembled personal protection packs that will help clinicians reuse their surgical masks and N95 filtering respirators. 

“This is about preserving the supply of personal protective equipment,” says Michelle Azotea, director of project management and implementation for the health system. 

About 250 volunteered in the first week, making between 2,000 and 6,000 face shields per four-hour shift. By March 24, more than 25,000 shields had been made, putting the volunteers well on their way to the goal of making 50,000 such kits for all Johns Hopkins clinicians in Maryland and Washington, D.C.