Idea

Designing for health

Alison Mulvale

OCAD U has launched a brand new grad program – Design for Health. We spoke with one of the first students in the program, Alison Mulvale.

 

You did your undergrad at OCAD University in Environmental Design and are currently a research coordinator at McMaster University. What’s the focus of your work there?

At McMaster, I use a service-improvement methodology called experience-based co-design to improve the transitions from child and youth mental-health services to adult ones. In collaboration with the developer WeUsThem, we designed and are piloting a cellphone and corresponding web applications called MyExperience that are being used to capture youth, family member and service providers’ experiences with service transitions. We are currently gearing up to hold feedback groups and a co-design event to have these stakeholder  groups collaboratively decide on design rules for enhancing transitions and care coordination.

 

What attracted you to OCAD U’s MDes in Design for Health program?

I saw the program as both the perfect opportunity to continue to merge my interests in design and health professionally, and because core classes for each term allow students to work in an interdisciplinary fashion. The program’s first term focuses on health and the individual, the second on health and the built environment and the third on health systems design. Having already touched on a few of these design scales both academically and professionally, I was excited by the prospect of not being confined to a specific scale, as well as the opportunity to work with health designers whose backgrounds cross all three.

Why do you think health design is such a growing and important field today?

Health design is becoming increasingly valued because the innovative potential of design has been gaining recognition within business and service sectors. Health care and promotion are such an integral part of people’s day-to-day lives, and we are constantly looking to do better in areas of weakness. While health design initially gained traction in business-oriented private health-care facilities, I think it’s also particularly attractive to public health-care systems that are looking to improve health outcomes, patient safety and overall experience, while maximizing the value for public dollars designated for health care and health promotion.

 

 




Alison Mulvale

OCAD U has launched a brand new grad program – Design for Health. We spoke with one of the first students in the program, Alison Mulvale.

 

You did your undergrad at OCAD University in Environmental Design and are currently a research coordinator at McMaster University. What’s the focus of your work there?

At McMaster, I use a service-improvement methodology called experience-based co-design to improve the transitions from child and youth mental-health services to adult ones. In collaboration with the developer WeUsThem, we designed and are piloting a cellphone and corresponding web applications called MyExperience that are being used to capture youth, family member and service providers’ experiences with service transitions. We are currently gearing up to hold feedback groups and a co-design event to have these stakeholder  groups collaboratively decide on design rules for enhancing transitions and care coordination.

 

What attracted you to OCAD U’s MDes in Design for Health program?

I saw the program as both the perfect opportunity to continue to merge my interests in design and health professionally, and because core classes for each term allow students to work in an interdisciplinary fashion. The program’s first term focuses on health and the individual, the second on health and the built environment and the third on health systems design. Having already touched on a few of these design scales both academically and professionally, I was excited by the prospect of not being confined to a specific scale, as well as the opportunity to work with health designers whose backgrounds cross all three.

Why do you think health design is such a growing and important field today?

Health design is becoming increasingly valued because the innovative potential of design has been gaining recognition within business and service sectors. Health care and promotion are such an integral part of people’s day-to-day lives, and we are constantly looking to do better in areas of weakness. While health design initially gained traction in business-oriented private health-care facilities, I think it’s also particularly attractive to public health-care systems that are looking to improve health outcomes, patient safety and overall experience, while maximizing the value for public dollars designated for health care and health promotion.

 

 

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