Common_Health+ Clinic Sandy Bay, Jamaica


CommonHealth+ at Sandy Bay Jamaica is the first in a series of prototypical modified container health clinics that aim to deliver telemedicine-based services in support of health monitoring for chronic care of public health issues for remote and underserved populations globally.

In partnership with the Kellogg Eye Center, Eye Health International (EHI), and the Jamaican Ministry of Health, the first CommonHealth+ prototype was developed, prefabricated, and shipped to Jamaica in the spring of 2016, where it is now operated by EHI in partnership with local authorities. The work is part of a broader research effort at the University of Michigan entitled Deep Monitoring, which, with support from the Provost’s Third Century Global Challenges initiative, aims to deliver technology- enabled health monitoring for chronic health care issues to remote and underserved populations globally.

As part of this effort, RVTR was asked to develop a design strategy for the repurposing of industrial shipping containers to produce that spatial framework within which chronic care solutions would be delivered. While the larger design research project includes a range of clinic types, functionalities, and scales of operation, the first prototype consisted of a single 20’x8’ container housing a refraction office and lens grinding facilities to enhance care options being delivered in less formal clinic settings by EHI during the past 20 years. The unit is insulated, climate controlled, and dehumidified to address not only comfort, but also issues of equipment lifespan in humid tropical locations. A generous shaded porch area serves as a waiting ‘room’, and solar PV modules are grid-tied to power operations and produce a modest income stream during periods of low energy demand.

A key idea within the CommonHealth+ program is to structure each clinic in such a way as to produce models of public space, and support community activities. In the case of this prototype, the porch provides an internet hotspot and provides a framework for video projections, programmed variously to support health-related learning, and collective leisure activities.

Prefabrication of the units was undertaken by subcontractors in Illinois and Michigan, and assembled for shipping along with an extensive load of medical equipment, supplies and flat-packed interior fittings in Ann Arbor. When ready, the unit entered the global logistics chain and was shipped to port in Kingston, JM. A team of local contractors assembled the structure within four days, at which point it was ready for operations by both visiting medical teams from EHI and local care-givers.

Typology Prefabricated Prototype


Deep Monitoring Project Dr. David Burke, Dr. Joseph Myers, Dr. Maria Woodward, Dr. Paula Anne Newman-Casey, Dr. Mark Burns
Eye Health Institute Dr. Joseph Myers, Dr. Richard Cross
RVTR Geoffrey Thün, Kathy Velikov, Suo Ya, Dan Tish, Kallie Sternburgh
Structural Engineering SDI: Paul Dannels
Container Fabrication Advantage Structures: Wendell Neeley
Structural Steel IFS: Michael Quin
Export Packaging Corrigan Air and Sea Cargo: Peter Paolini, Jeff Kucyk, Brian Sachs
Shipping Logistics Food for the Poor: David Mair, Artie Gold, Mark Khouri