October 29, 2021
Dear SPH Community,
Earlier this week, you may have noticed a tripod in some of our classrooms. This tripod, and the equipment beneath it, are part of an air sampling research project that is the first phase of an exciting intervention we’re launching at SPH in the weeks ahead: the building and placement of Corsi-Rosenthal Cube Air Cleaners. These DIY air cleaners were designed by two environmental engineers—Jim Rosenthal and Richard Corsi—who were looking for an effective and low-cost design to remove particles from the air, including SARS-CoV-2.
The first Cubes will be in place as of Monday, November 1. We plan to expand their use to communal spaces at SPH, and then to locations throughout the University, in collaboration with the Provost’s Office. We’re also looking into building the Cubes together with community partners in Providence and around Rhode Island.
One unique dimension of Brown’s Corsi-Rosenthal Cube project is the addition of a research element to study the filters’ impact. Led by Professor Joseph Braun and his team, this effort will study the Cubes’ efficacy at removing particulates from the air.
It’s important to note that the Corsi-Rosenthal Cubes are an additional measure to help ensure clean air and appropriate air exchange rates in SPH spaces. The Cubes will support the interventions that the University has already put in place to ensure that HVAC and filtration systems are operating optimally. And of course, we will continue to follow existing safety measures like masking.
Please note that the Cubes are on timers and will run every day starting at 7 am. They will be placed in rooms based on airflow patterns, so please do not move them from their locations or turn them off. If you have concerns about the placement or the noise of the Cubes, please contact our Operations Team and we’ll work out a solution.
I hope you all feel the same excitement I do at the launch of this project, which is a great example of a hands-on public health intervention that can have an immediate impact on our School environment and on our health. If you’re interested in getting involved or helping to build the Corsi-Rosenthal Cubes, please email the Operations Team for more information.
Ashish K. Jha, MD, MPH
Dean, School of Public Health
Professor of Health Services, Policy & Practice