Fab Lab ICC awarded $25,000 grant to make PPE during COVID-19

Grant from NetWork Kansas provided by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas
Independence Community College president resigns
Independence Community College president resigns
Independence Community College president resigns

Independence, Kan. – Fab Lab ICC at Independence Community College has announced receipt a $25,000 grant from NetWork Kansas, with funding provided by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas (BCBSKS). The grants are being awarded to colleges and small businesses in Kansas that are making PPE for healthcare workers with low supply during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Fab Lab ICC will be making PPE items such as 3D printed, reusable face masks with replaceable filters, face shields and intubation boxes. In addition, the Fab Lab will also offer, to hospitals and medical facilities across the state, certain replacement parts that were difficult to find during the first part of the COVID-19 pandemic using 3D printing and micro-machining capabilities. The Fab Lab team is working on an app to use smart phone technology to measure faces so that masks can be made with a custom fit for better seal and comfort.

“It broke our hearts to see what existing PPE masks were doing to the faces of front-line workers after wearing for extended periods,” said Jim Correll, director of Fab Lab ICC. “We’re working to improve the design of the masks we make now to make them more comfortable and better fitting than those available in the marketplace today. We are grateful to the folks at NetWork Kansas and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas for this opportunity to enhance our PPE products.”

NetWork Kansas is a nonprofit that works to grow small businesses in Kansas and foster an entrepreneurial spirit among Kansans. This is one of several initiatives that Network Kansas is involved with to help small businesses and communities respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“NetWork Kansas is thrilled to work with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas on this grant project to ensure Kansas health providers are getting the PPE equipment they need,” said Steve Radley, president & CEO, NetWork Kansas. “These BCBSKS grant investments will accelerate delivery of PPE equipment and build capacity in businesses and other entrepreneurial organizations for the future. ”

BCBSKS recently announced it was giving $250,000 to NetWork Kansas to fund the PPE grants. The funding is part of the BCBSKS Blue Health Initiatives Trailblazers grant that was given through NetWork Kansas. Trailblazers builds partnerships to blaze a trail to a healthier future by finding innovative solutions that improve social determinants of health, increase access to care, and streamline the coordination of services.

“We are proud to provide relief where we can to organizations across our state that are working hard to meet the needs of all Kansans,” said Matt All, president and CEO of BCBSKS. “We care deeply about our communities and are committed to providing assistance where we can during this time.”

To learn more about these relief efforts and additional measures, please visit the NetWork Kansas website and BCBSKS website.