Equity, Listening, and the Transference of Power in Design-Driven Healthcare Innovation
Keywords:Design Research, Design Education, Social Impact
The American Heart Association has almost 100 years of experience uncovering barriers to better health across the United States. Looking to transition towards a more equitable approach to health, the AHA partnered with verynice, a design strategy consultancy, in 2017, to develop a design research toolkit that could understand the needs of rural communities, align scientific understanding with human-centered design, and build capacity for qualitative design research. In 2018, Professor Matthew Manos of the USC Iovine and Young Academy led a group of 19 graduate students on a Professional Practices Residential in Dallas, Texas. Along the way, students developed a series of strategic recommendations for the organization moving forward. In a second application of the toolkit, Professor Manos led 20 additional graduate students in a residential experience with the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles in 2019. By introducing the framework in the offerings of the Academy, we saw first-hand the power of the methodology in an educational environment as a tool for teaching students how to listen to community needs, and suspend their bias.