Campus: CSU Long Beach -- January 21, 2003

Design, Mechanical Engineering Students at Cal State Long Beach Recognized in International Competition for Design of Mobile HIV/AIDS Health Clinic for Africa


A group of five students from the Design and Mechanical Engineering departments at California State University, Long Beach has been recognized by Architecture for Humanity for their submission to the group’s competition titled “OUTREACH: Design Ideas for a Mobile HIV/AIDS Health Clinic for Africa.”

The entry from junior industrial design majors Pal Rusten, Tom Minami, Kit Mok and Mark Surtleff and senior mechanical engineering major John Dobmeier was selected among the top 40 out of 531 professional and student submissions from more than 50 countries around the world. As a result, their design is part of an exhibition currently on display in New York and scheduled to travel nationally and internationally.

Architecture For Humanity, a not-for-profit organization founded for the promotion of architectural and design solutions to global, social and humanitarian crises, invited designs from throughout the world for a mobile health clinic to combat the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa.
One of the greatest challenges to helping the estimated 30 million people infected with HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa is access. Many of those living with the disease are in remote areas lacking basic medical services.

Designers were given a total of six months to develop schemes for a fully equipped, mobile medical unit and HIV/AIDS treatment center that could not only be used for testing, prevention and treatment of the disease, but also to disseminate information regarding the virus and provide basic health care services.

The nine-week student project was completed during the fall 2002 semester, according to Jose Rivera-Chang, CSULB assistant professor of industrial design who collaborated with Professor Karl Grote from the Mechanical Engineering Department.

One reason for the student project’s success, Rivera-Chang said, was the use of storyboards.
“It is really hard to explain many parallel situations all happening at the same time,” he pointed out. “How do you explain a whole system-configuration in just a one-page format? That was the real challenge in this competition.”

Rivera-Chang expressed his hope that the recognition would encourage more campus collaboration. “Collaboration was the initial purpose of this project,” he said. “If these two departments could work together and find success, why not two other departments?”
Almost 100 professional and student entries were chosen after an international jury of architects and medical professionals met in New York in late November. On World AIDS Day (Dec. 1), 40 selected schemes were announced. These schemes are currently on display in New York’s Van Alen Institute until Jan. 31.

In late spring, the exhibit is scheduled to travel nationally and internationally with initial dates and locations set for Cape Town, Copenhagen, London and Washington, D.C.

Next, the Architecture for Humanity group plans to combine the winning models to build one or more mobile AIDS clinics with donated funds at a cost of $20,000 to $100,000.

The Cal State Long Beach students’ design idea can be seen at the competition’s Web site at: http://www.architectureforhumanity.org/africa/Exhibit/Selected.htm.


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