New Duquesne-CDC Partnership Focusing on PPE Equity

Updated on October 8, 2022

A new partnership between Duquesne University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will help to develop strategies to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to disabled individuals and other minority groups who can’t easily access or use existing  PPE options. 

The collaboration between Duquesne’s Rangos School of Health Sciences and the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL) will focus on fostering greater diversity and inclusion for underserved individuals who may have issues in the area of PPE use, availability, accessibility, acceptability, and knowledge.

“For many people, current PPE products create barriers,” said Dr. Faina Linkov, department chair and associate professor of health administration and public health at Duquesne. “Some respirators don’t fit people who have had facial trauma. Individuals who suffer from tremors or anxiety often have difficulty putting on a respirator. And people who are committed to wearing headwear, such as hijabs, for religious reasons face impediments.”

Duquesne students work closely with CDC NIOSH to conduct research, expand partnerships, and create guidance and recommendations so individuals with specific needs can benefit from PPE. Justin Wehring, who earned his Master of Health Administration degree from Duquesne, is working for CDC NIOSH as an analyst to identify strategic actions that can be taken to increase diversity and inclusion in their workforce, workplace and the marketplace with regards to PPE. 

“My Duquesne education has been essential to helping me reach my goals,” Wehring said. “In addition to my classroom training, the hands-on experiences I’ve had in the Department of Health Administration and Public Health and excellent advising helped me to hit the ground running and play an important role in improving public health for everyone.”

The collaboration reflects Duquesne’s commitment to expanding student horizons through opportunities that allow students to work with CDC NIOSH leaders in occupational safety and health and develop solutions to health care challenges. In addition to conducting research, students will participate in the CDC NIOSH conferences and meetings and have the opportunity to work with CDC NIOSH NPPTL’s researchers as part of their education. 

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation’s top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 8,500 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The University’s academic programs, community service, and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim. 

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