Wichita State receives grant to make more PPE


Wichita State University’s Office of Tech Transfer and Commercialization has received a $37,000 grant that will go toward making more personal protective equipment (PPE) to health care workers with low supply caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The grant is 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 the health care industry during this time.

Examples of PPE currently being created at Wichita State include temporary face shields and disposable stethoscopes. Counties across Kansas have received shipments of PPE since April.

“Our Tech Transfer and Commercialization office has been working diligently to figure out how we can make an impact in these unprecedented times,” says Rob Gerlach, executive director of the Wichita State Tech Transfer and Commercialization office. “This has been an exciting and innovative experience in all facets, both in providing protection for our health care workers, and in providing applied learning opportunities for our students.”

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 and 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.

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