• Renown Health
  • COVID-19

Join Forces with Local Businesses to Make Isolation Gowns

April 29, 2020

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The availability of face masks for healthcare workers has been a popular topic of discussion amid the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there’s another piece of essential personal protective equipment (PPE) that’s become difficult to come by – isolation gowns. To help meet local demand for this critical piece of equipment, University of Nevada, Reno’s Department of Art Fabrication Lab, Miller’s Jackets and Printing Services of Nevada have teamed up to use their unique resources to produce isolation gowns at no cost to Renown Health. 

The isolation gown production process starts at the Fabrication Lab – commonly referred to as the “Fab Lab” – with rolls of Kona Cotton fabric purchased by Renown. From there, Fab Lab manager Nicole Miller feeds the fabric into the Zund G3 digital CNC machine to begin the production process. Using a design software, Miller digitized Renown’s isolation gown template and created three sizes – small, medium and large. These digital blueprints serve as instructions for the machine to cut the fabric. Thanks to this state-of-the-art cutting machine and Miller’s streamlined efforts, it takes just 68 seconds to cut out one gown. See the Zund G3 digital CNC machine in action.

“COVID-19 has affected us all in unprecedented ways,” said Miller. “It means so much knowing that we can help our local healthcare workers who are working so hard for the whole community. At its core, the department of arts’ Fab Lab is designed to enable our students and faculty to create interdisciplinary research. Pivoting to PPE production just allows us to use our equipment and skill set to solve problems in an applied design environment.” 

From there, the cut gown fabric is taken to Miller’s Jackets where it is sewn in accordance with Renown’s gown pattern. The company had previously sewn masks to help meet the demands of local hospitals towards the beginning of the pandemic. 

Jeff Richards, owner of Printing Services of Nevada and partner of Miller’s Jackets, saw how quickly Renown employees responded to the COVID-19 crisis and wanted to give back to area healthcare workers in any way he could.

“With less work coming in due to the shutdown, I wanted to offer my time and resources to assist the community,” said Richards. “I strategized with my partner at Miller’s Jackets, Chris Robb, about what to do next. After discovering Renown’s need for isolations gowns, it was an easy decision for us to continue putting our staff and sewing machines to good use for our local hospitals.”

Tony Slonim, MD, D.Ph., president and CEO of Renown Health states, “There is nothing more important to me than providing our caregivers at the front line with the resources they need to Contact: Renown Public Relations M: 775-691-7308 E: news@renown.org feel well-cared for, supported and confident in their practice. In my experience, as both an intensivist and a registered nurse, there is special feeling when you wear a garment that was hand-made for you. I know our caregivers will feel the love and appreciation expressed by the talented craftspeople of the University of Nevada, Reno’s Department of Art Fabrication Lab, Miller’s Jackets and Printing Services of Nevada when they don these special garments. We appreciate the innovative thinking and generosity of these local business leaders to support Renown Health caregivers and patients. 

Despite the slowing of business, Printing Services of Nevada is committed to paying Miller’s Jackets employees and volunteers for their time, and covering the cost of any materials beyond the fabric supplied by Renown Health. Miller’s Jackets has opened up its industrial sewing machines for the isolation gown project and also called on volunteers to sew from their personal machines at home. 

“Renown’s healthcare workers put their lives on the line for the public every day,” said Robb. “They don’t have the luxury of getting to stay out of harm’s way. They do so much for us. If there’s anything we can do to make their lives a little easier and less stressful, it’s worth it.”

Since the inception of this collaboration on April 16, the Fab Lab, Miller’s Jackets and Printing Services of Nevada have helped produce 150 isolation gowns, which will all benefit Renown caregivers. Once worn, the gowns can be sterilized and reused, helping Renown extend the life of its personal protective equipment, which helps ensure the health and safety of care givers.

Renown’s director of service excellence Amber Maraccini says, “One of the many positives I’ve seen come out of these uncertain times is our community’s willingness to give and collaborate. We extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to those helping our caregivers fight the good fight every day.”

Renown has a total goal of 10,000 community-donated isolation gowns. To help Renown reach this goal, community members can access Renown’s gown pattern here.

Those interested in supporting Renown’s healthcare heroes are invited to visit www.renown.org/give for more ways on how to help. For up-to-date information on Renown’s approach to keeping our community safe, visit our website at www.renown.org/covid-19/.




About The Fabrication Lab

The Fabrication Lab is part of the School of the Arts and facilitates hands-on production and learning by enabling innovation and interdisciplinary connectivity at the intersection of art and technology. The Fab Lab is committed to advancing teaching and research to enrich art department programs and plays a key role in the education of art students at the University of Nevada, Reno. For more information, visit unr.edu/art/fabrication-lab

About Renown Health

Renown Health is a locally governed and locally owned, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving northern Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. Renown is one of the Contact: Renown Public Relations M: 775-691-7308 E: news@renown.org region’s largest private employers with a workforce of more than 7,000. It comprises three acute care hospitals, a rehabilitation hospital, the area’s most comprehensive medical group and urgent care network, and the region’s largest and only locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health. Renown has a long tradition and commitment to continually improve the care and the health of our community. For more information, visit renown.org.

About Printing Services of Nevada LLC

Printing Services of Nevada LLC is a family owned company that has served Northern Nevada since 1985. After operating as one of the area’s premier printing brokerage firms for most of that time, the company began a transformation to in-house production to provide better, and faster service at a reasonable price. Since then, Printing Services of Nevada LLC has grown substantially in both technology and capability to one of the regions premier digital printing companies. The recent acquisition of the Xerox Iridesse Production Press along with the newest Duplo bindery machines for post-press needs allow Printing Services of Nevada LLC to offer superb quality at a competitive price. Whether servicing large businesses or a single person, at Printing Services of Nevada LLC the philosophy is simple. First, build mutually beneficial relationships with our customers and vendors and be true in those relationships. Second, give back to the community through programs that we have implemented such as no-charge resume printing for those searching for a job, promotion of suicide awareness through Motivation United, a non-profit which the owner of Printing Services of Nevada LLC has started to place inspirational signs throughout the community, and working with other non-profits to provide the services they need while working within their limited budget. Printing Services of Nevada LLC…dream it and imagine the possibilities!  

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