The Intuitive Foundation Responds to COVID-19

500,000 face shields highlight Foundation’s diverse response to COVID-19

The Intuitive Foundation’s multi-faceted response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to generate valuable personal protection equipment (PPE) for donations as well as explore new technologies and methods to help people around the world.

A major milestone has been reached in face shields, which are being created at Intuitive production facilities in Mexicali, Mexico; Sunnyvale, California and in Connecticut. Total production passed 500,000 in early June, and a series of efforts to make both face shields and protective masks continues to move toward 1 million+ PPE items.

The Intuitive Foundation’s ongoing PPE efforts include:

  • Manufacture and donation of face shields
  • Manufacture and donation of thousands of protective cloth masks
  • Distribution of 50,000 N95 respirator masks donated by partner Fosun Pharma to facilities in need
  • Donation of thousands of lab coats, boxes of wipes, gloves, shoe booties, caps and other needed gear for frontline workers
  • An employee-designed protective drape barrier for patient intubation that is running trials at four U.S. hospitals

Every single piece of PPE out there in our hospitals, care facilities, and communities helps keep a human interaction safer, and helps us “flatten the curve” as a global community. We continue to make and donate as we look toward this next phase of the COVID-19 crisis and settle into the new rhythms.

Additionally, the Intuitive Foundation worked with the county of Santa Clara and the Silicon Valley COVID-19 Aid Coalition’s local consortium of 11 hospitals to develop a set of product specifications and general guidelines for the most needed items. These specifications enable technology company supply chain experts with no medical experience to correctly source medical equipment for hospitals. The first set of the growing list of specs are now on VMC’s website.

The Intuitive Foundation continues to coordinate employee donations around the response effort, as well as engage with medical device leaders to explore new technologies and connect PPE to hospitals and facilities in need.


The Intuitive Foundation, by itself and working with Intuitive Surgical has a number of ongoing initiatives aimed at helping community response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 crisis has expanded the Intuitive Foundation’s focus to also include near-term efforts to help front-line healthcare workers and their communities.

The Intuitive Foundation has made a direct financial contribution to Santa Clara County’s response efforts, through the Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG). In addition, Intuitive Foundation President Catherine Mohr has worked closely with the SVLG to establish a response initiative that has brought together San Francisco Bay Area businesses to source, purchase, store, and distribute needed personal protection equipment (PPE) and medical equipment. By matching suppliers and purchasers, this effort has benefitted an 11-hospital consortium in Santa Clara County as well as other facilities in need.

This initiative has relied heavily on in-kind volunteer efforts of engineers and others within Intuitive Surgical. Intuitive Surgical employees have provided expert assistance related to managing supply chains, identifying product specifications, manufacturing and building collaborative online tools to facilitate the response.

Intuitive Foundation’s COVID-19 efforts are centered on the creation and donation of PPE:

Face Shields

With the ongoing shortage of PPE for health care workers in many places, the Intuitive Foundation has acquired the raw materials needed to assemble thousands of face shields a week, with a goal of supplying 1 million or more shields for frontline personnel.

To support this effort, Intuitive Surgical has used its engineering and manufacturing expertise to develop temporary manufacturing lines that volunteer staff is using to produce these shields. Intuitive Foundation is coordinating with local organizations and agencies on distributing these PPE.

Face Masks

The Intuitive Foundation has engaged with contract manufacturers in the production of cloth face masks with an initial goal of creating 25,000 masks. These masks will be donated to medical facilities in need around the country, with an emphasis on acute, elder, and nursing care facilities.

Intuitive Foundation is coordinating the testing of mask insert materials in an effort to upgrade their protective quality for high-acuity health care workers, and will share these results as soon as possible with an aim to enhance the effectiveness of these cloth masks.

Intuitive Surgical employees are also making their own masks, and donating them locally along with other created PPE materials.

Matching Contributions

The Intuitive Foundation has established a special matching drive to match the donations of Intuitive Surgical employees to certain local or global organizations responding to the crisis.

Exploring Other Ways to Help

The Intuitive Foundation continues to explore additional steps to help communities add PPE resources, to improve the protective qualities of masks, and to identify new technologies that can help both the health care system and our communities respond to COVID-19.