Creating an Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative for PPE and Other Medical Device Supplies

Author: Ashley Holub


Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is a critical component of medical care that ensures the safety of both the patient and the provider, as well as the general public. During the COVID-19 pandemic, a global shortage of PPE left many providers insufficiently protected, resulting in infection, increased spread, and even the deaths of providers. To assist, the World Health Organization urged for a 40% increase in production. Treatment of those infected was further hampered by critical shortages of necessary medical supplies such as ventilator parts. The fragility of the supply chain also left civilians without immediate access to PPE, and later widespread use of disposable masks has created a significant environmental hazard. Innovation in PPE has remained stagnant and reliant on single use options which are vulnerable to manufacturing shortcomings and harmful to the environment.

The next administration should target the shortcomings of PPE and single use medical parts more broadly by creating a cross-agency collaboration center for PPE and medical device innovation that focuses on improving efficacy of PPE; stimulating new designs including reusable options; fostering collaborations for the design, research, and manufacture of improved medical parts; and identifying ways to ramp up manufacturing during times of crises while maintaining optimal safety of such equipment.

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About the Author

Ashley Holub is a post-doctoral fellow in medical devices epidemiology at Johnson & Johnson. She completed her PhD in epidemiology at the University of Rochester and holds a master’s degree in psychology. She has also completed training in regulatory science and has an interest in the intersection of epidemiology and advancing regulatory science. Ashley has conducted research in a range of topics including pediatrics, emergency medicine, and mental health, and has worked in clinical trials for both pharmaceuticals and medical devices. Ashley is an active advocate for improving science communication.