Health/Design Symposium

Health/Design is a one-day event taking place at Rice University in Houston, Texas from 9am-5pm on Friday, April 27, 2018 that brings together leading design thinkers in healthcare to explore the value of human-centered creative approaches for solving complex problems in healthcare.

Rice University, Saturday, April 27th 2018

Kirsten Ostherr, Rice University, Department of English and UT School of Public Health

About the Symposium:

As stakeholders working from inside of their institutions to bring the “outside” practice of design thinking into the clinic, the Health/Design presenters share their views on why it is necessary to bring creative problem solving into medicine, and what they have seen come out of these experiments that is unique, valuable, and currently absent from medical practice. What if design thinking were considered a required clinical competency? What new kinds of doctors might emerge? How might those doctors engage differently with their patients? How might those doctors – and patients – engage differently with the emerging challenges of our healthcare system? This day-long program organized by the Medical Futures Lab includes a series of presentations along with hands-on design learning that tackles a core challenge for medicine in the age of big data: how to bridge the data-driven practices of evidence-based medicine with the patient-centered practices of empathic listening and integration of the patient story into healthcare practice.


Symposium Schedule:

Breakfast at the Moody Center for the Arts: 8-9am
Panel #1: 9-10:45

9-9:15: Kirsten Ostherr, Welcome & opening remarks

9:15-9:45: Bon Ku, “Reimagining the Future of Health through Design Thinking”

9:45-10:15: Matthew Trowbridge, “What I’ve Learned Teaching Design Thinking to First-year Medical Students”

10:15-10:45: Dana Lewis, “#WeAreNotWaiting: Embracing Patient-Driven Design Can Help Solve Healthcare’s Problems”

10:45-11 Coffee Break

Panel #2: 11-12:30

11-11:30: Stacey Chang, “Into the Eye of the Storm- Design Goes Native”

1:30-12: Joyce Lee, “Integrating design using the native language of healthcare”

12-12:30: Upali Nanda, “Did we forget the Stage? How architecture can set the stage for better outcomes – and serve as a Living Lab”

12:30-1:30 – Lunch

Panel #3: 1:30-2:30

1:30-2: Tammy L. Cupit and Rachel Murphy, “UTMB MakerHealth Space: Growing a culture of health making in an academic medical center”

2-2:30: Dennis Boyle, “Design Thinking and Thinking Like a Designer”

2:30-2:45 – Coffee Break

2:45-4 Design breakout session

Closing panel: 4-5pm

Roundtable with Bon Ku, Joyce Lee, Matt Trowbridge, Dana Lewis, Stacey Chang, Dennis Boyle

Closing reception: 5-6pm



The Humanities Research Center at Rice University, The Rice Univesrity School of Architecture, and the Harvard Kennedy School



Participant Bios:

Bon Ku, MD, MPP is the Assistant Dean for Health and Design and an Associate Professor at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University. He is a practicing emergency medicine physician and the founder and director of JeffDESIGN, a first-of-its-kind program in a medical school that teaches future physicians to apply human-centered design to healthcare challenges. Bon has spoken widely on the intersection of health and design thinking (TEDx, South by Southwest, Mayo Clinic Transform, Stanford Medicine X, Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture) and serves on the Design and Health Leadership Group at the American Institute of Architects. In 2016, he received the Health Care Innovators Award from the Philadelphia Business Journal. Medicine + Design @BonKu

Joyce Lee, MD, MPH is the Robert P. Kelch, MD Research Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Michigan Medical School and Professor at the Medical School and at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. She is a Physician, Designer, and Researcher, and the Robert P. Kelch, MD, Research Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Michigan. Joyce Lee creates learning health systems using the methods of clinical informatics, quality improvement, and patient-centered participatory design. She studies online communities, patient innovation, and health applications of emerging technologies (mobile technology and social media). Her work supports the integration of the maker movement into healthcare. Doctor as Designer @joyclee

Matt Trowbridge, MD, MPH is a physician, public health researcher, and assistant professor at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. Dr. Trowbridge’s academic research focuses on the impact of architecture, urban design, and transportation planning on public health issues including childhood obesity, traffic injury, and pre-hospital emergency care. Dr. Trowbridge is currently an advisor to the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (, a partnership between multiple federal and private funding agencies, on built environment and childhood obesity prevention research development.

Previously, he has served as Chair of the Built Environment & Transportation planning subcommittee for the 2012 Centers for Disease Control’s Weight of the Nation obesity prevention conference and as senior advisor on built environment and childhood obesity prevention research at the National Cancer Institute at NIH. Dr. Trowbridge was also recently named as the 2013 Ginsberg Fellow by the U.S. Green Building Council for his work to promote healthier built environments. Dr. Trowbridge is board certified in both general pediatrics and preventive medicine and obtained his medical and public health training at Emory University. UVA Medical Design @mtrowbr 

Dana Lewis, After building her own DIY artificial pancreas, helped found the open source artificial pancreas movement (known as OpenAPS), making safe and effective artificial pancreas technology available (sooner) for people with diabetes around the world. She is also a Principal Investigator for a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded grant project to work to scale patient-led innovation and scientific discovery in more patient communities. OpenAPS @danamlewis

Dennis Boyle, MS is a Partner and a founding member of IDEO. Based in Palo Alto, he leads the Health and Wellness practice, which works with clients in the medical and consumer health-care industries to develop innovative products and strategies for promoting healthful living and behavior change. Over the course of his IDEO career, he has worked as a design engineer, a project leader, a business relationship leader, a studio leader, and a practice leader. He has helped us build and nurture many key, long-term client relationships, including Silicon Valley tech firms, Fortune 100 consumer businesses, and health-care companies, such Apple, Palm, Tivo, Handspring, HP, Dell, Proctor and Gamble, and others. He has contributed to more than 50 patents.

Dennis helped to shape IDEO’s approach to teaching design thinking through workshops. He also created the TechBox at IDEO, a collection of tools used for creative problem-solving, research, and in communication both inside and outside the company. IDEO @dennisjboyle

Upali Nanda, PhD, MArch is Director of Research for HKS, responsible for spearheading and implementing research projects globally. She also serves as the Executive Director for the non-profit Center for Advanced Design Research and Education. She is a member of the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture (ANFA) Advisory Council, the AIA Research Advisory for Design& Health, and the AAH research council. Her doctoral work on “Sensthetics” has been published as a book available on, and she has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals and main stream media. Her research has been awarded the European Healthcare Design Research Award and two EDRA CORE awards. In 2015 Dr. Nanda was recognized as one of the top 10 most influential people in Healthcare Design for research, by the Healthcare Design Magazine. HKS @UpaliNanda

Stacey Chang, BS, MS is the Executive Director of the Design Institute for Health, a collaboration between the Dell Medical School and the College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas at Austin. It is a first-of-its-kind institution, dedicated to applying design approaches to solving systemic health care challenges as an integrated part of a medical education and training program.

Working with invested stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem, and harnessing the resources of the university, the Institute is focused on creating human-centered solutions in every area of the patient and provider experience – all with a focus on improving people’s health outcomes and health care experiences.
Until 2014, Stacey served as the Managing Director of the Healthcare practice at IDEO, the global design and innovation firm.

Clients included governments, research institutions, hospitals, pharma, insurance, medtech, and all the upstarts trying to rewrite the script, in both established and emerging markets. @Stacey_Chang

Tammy Cupit, PhD, RN currently serves as the Director of Nursing Science and Innovation for UTMB Health. She also serves on the Institutional Review Board, the Institutional Ethics Committee, oversees nursing peer review for the entire UTMB Health System, and has an adjunct Associate Professor appointment with the UTMB School of Nursing.

Tammy has received numerous awards over the past several years including a community service award, two Good Samaritan Excellence in Nursing awards, the Sigma Theta Tau International Excellence in Mentoring award and the UTMB Anna Pearl Rains Nursing Leadership Award. Dr. Cupit remains active in professional organizations including the American Nurses Association, the Texas Nurses Association, and the Association for Nursing Professional Development.

Dr. Cupit is an avid nurse scientist and has been both a principal and co-investigator in over half a dozen single and multi-site nursing research studies resulting in national and international presentations as well as publications which include a policy brief and the first co-authored study published in the United States examining front-line operational failures detected by medical-surgical nurses during their usual work shifts.

Dr. Cupit remains active in the community through her role as Chair of the Texas Medical Center’s Nursing Science Research Collaborative as well as her volunteer work with CASA, CPS and local schools where she collaborates with fellow nurses to provide family life and sexual health education. @tammycupit 

Rachel Murphy, BSN, RN, CCRN currently holds a position of a Clinical Operations Administrator at the UTMB Galveston Campus. She is also a founding member of the UTMB’s new Think Tank Tuesday Committee, whose mission is to capture under-utilized device innovations to improve patient care and drive practice, research, and education in the university system. Rachel is a current MSN student in UTMB’s Executive Nurse Leadership program with her primary program work focusing on integrating interdisciplinary staff and MakerHealth Space personnel to encourage ideation, creation, implementation, and dissemination of device creation at UTMB.
Rachel is a current member of the National Society for Leadership and Success, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, and the American Nurses Association. She also holds a Critical Care Registered Nurse certification from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses.

Bryan Vartabedian, MD, FAAP is co-organizer of the health/design symposium, and co-founder of the Medical Futures Lab. Bryan is a pediatrician at Baylor College of Medicine / Texas Children’s Hospital and one of health care’s influential voices on technology & medicine. His blog, 33charts, was selected to be archived as a unique and valuable representation of the physician blog by the U.S. National Library of Medicine. @Doctor_V

Kirsten Ostherr, PhD, MPH is co-organizer of the health/design symposium, and co-founder of the Medical Futures Lab. Kirsten is is the Gladys Louise Fox Professor of English at Rice University, in Houston, Texas, where she is a media scholar, health researcher, and founding director of the Medical Humanities program. She is the author of Medical Visions: Producing the Patient through Film, Television and Imaging Technologies (Oxford, 2013) and Cinematic Prophylaxis: Globalization and Contagion in the Discourse of World Health (Duke, 2005), co-editor of Science/Animation, a special issue of the journal Discourse (2016), and editor of Applied Media Studies (Routledge, 2018). Her current research is on information and communication technologies in medicine, patient narratives, trust and privacy in digital health ecosystems, and the role of simulation as a mediator between human and technological forms of medical expertise. Her current book project is called Quantified Health: Learning from Patient Stories in the Age of Big Data. She has spoken to audiences at the White House, the World Health Organization, the National Library of Medicine, TEDx, the mHealth Summit, Medicine X, the Louisville Innovation Summit, the Bauhaus, and universities and conferences worldwide. @KirstenOstherr