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Human-Centric Treatment Module, Washington, D.C.

June 2018
EDAC Advocate Firm Project
Ebola Pod Perspective View, Huelat Davis, February 2015

HuElat Davis

Firm's Role on the Project: Create a meticulous infection control space that would be safe for caregivers and patients.

EBD Goal

The goal of the project was to create a meticulous infection control space that would be safe for caregivers and patients, easy to clean, a beautiful design, anxiolytic, and cost-effective to build.


To this day, infectious diseases often reach epidemic proportions. The recent Ebola outbreak killed approximately 11,000 people, spreading from person to person through contact with bodily fluid. This design project originated in July 2014 at the height of the Ebola crisis, when the world was scrambling to identify, contain, treat, and cure the disease. Huelat Davis was retained by a fabrication vendor to design a fully self contained treatment modular that could be shipped immediately to ground zero sites. A team was established which included an Ebola specialist; a clinical researcher; manufacturing, engineering, transportation, and fabrication experts; and our own design team.


The design team faced multiple challenges in planning a new and unique prototype design, in addition to addressing client expectations. The client’s top priorities included:

• Safety: The design team had to create a high-tech sterile environment that was supportive, safe, and patient-friendly, without previous examples or sites to investigate.
• Timing: Due to the rapid spread of the disease, urgency was crucial.
• Reliability: The design would have to be put to use as soon as it was ready, since no time was available to test the hypothesis.
• Size: The module would have to accommodate the four-step treatment process and fit on a flat-bed truck and in a shipping container.
• Waste mitigation: The project would require a hazardous waste management system that could function without human contact.


Ultimately, the design solution was conceptual only. The module was not built or field-tested due to the successful management of the 2014 Ebola outbreak. The team did, however, complete a modular prototype that met all of the safety, waste mitigation, clinical protocol, and patient care criteria, in addition to the shipping and transportation requirements.


Preliminary findings indicate that it is possible to design a built environment for infectious disease where patients can be safely treated (the project hypothesis). Research included findings about the care and treatment of persons with infectious diseases, lessons learned from Ebola outbreak sites, and key research about infection control. Our preliminary studies found that the unit design allowed for both flat-bed trucking and overseas shipping. Moreover, setup is possible in most locations, from existing hospital parking lots to rural settings. Next steps identified by the team would include a full mock-up with observational studies, patient input, a full engineering study, and cost analysis.

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