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University of Arizona Health Sciences unveils consortium to create pandemic-free future

A new initiative from the University of Arizona Health Sciences seeks to unite global experts from universities, government agencies, nonprofits and industry to develop solutions to future pandemics. 

It’s called the  Aegis Consortium and the goal is to partner with experts across disciplines to create a pandemic-free future. One area of research will look at how where we live can be adapted or modified with technology.

"We have expertise in smart and adaptive homes ... so that it promotes function. And that can include sensors and prompts, flexible furniture, acoustics," said Dr. Mindy Fain, co-director of the University of Arizona Center on Aging.

Fain credits her colleagues Dr. Esther M Sternberg and Kathie Insel for their expertise in this space.

"We can create a home and adaptive environment where the ventilation systems help to not only reduce, identify or reduce spread of a micro but also improve things like carbon dioxide levels." Fain said.

Fain says these adaptive homes could also monitor our health, including blood pressure and pulse. But this work isn't just limited to homes. Fain says this would also including looking at how we design long-term care facilities. 

"But as we see over and over again, if we can find solutions, it might be robots in nursing homes, we don't know what that is. But I think we have to be curious and committed to make life better for everyone but certainly to for older adults to be pandemic free, wherever they live."

Fain says this initiative will also look at adaptive housing, technology and health care at home. 

EDITOR'S NOTE: This headline has been updated to clarify the agency behind the initiative.

Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.