This past May, the Design Lab hosted The Future of Public Health Research event in collaboration with the Institute of Public Health at UC San Diego, the Qualcomm Institute, the Center for Wireless and Population Health Systems, and local industry partners. The event united scholars and practitioners from diverse disciplines such as business, design, engineering, medicine and public policy. The event was driven by a collective interest in exploring why public health research may need to change, how that change can be designed in an impactful, human-centric way, and the roles that various groups play in contributing to a new vision of public health. Throughout the day, academic and industry speakers working within the sphere of public health alongside health advocates, shared their insights on panels and facilitated a wider discussion to engage attendees concerning the critical issues that need to be addressed.
(Pictured Left to Right: Kevin Patrick, Professor, Family Medicine and Public Health; Don Norman, Director of the Design Lab)
The discussion-style nature of the event encouraged attendees to delve deeply into the emerging public health conversation. Among the key areas of focus included identifying participatory stakeholders and leaders within the space, the roles of various disciplines in effecting change and the support that must be in place to enable the successful transformation of current systems. Speakers highlighted several themes that transcend both presentations and panel discussions which included the idea of global design, forging strong connections with clinical systems to inspire a continuum of prevention and intervention in addition to a call to acknowledge the need to examine gaps in existing solutions. “My sense was that, as said by Dr. Aronoff-Spencer of the Design Lab, there is a deep hunger for bringing the public truly and meaningfully into public health,” said Eric Hekler, Director of the Center for Population and Wireless Health Systems.
(Pictured: Lara Mangravite, President, Sage Bionetworks)
Michèle Morris, Associate Director of The Design Lab, hopes that attendees gained a greater understanding of and empathy for the public health ecosystem at the event, while successfully expanding their personal and professional networks to pave the way for collaborative discovery. The event provided a launchpad for continued dialogue surrounding cross-disciplinary efforts and initiatives. Dr. Doug Ziedonis, Associate Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences, echoed similar sentiments stating his excitement and enthusiasm for the growing momentum of public health at UC San Diego to fuel innovation. “Design thinking is about being part of the doing and not simply the theory. It is vital to look at the needs of the population through the eyes of the population.” Ziedonis is looking forward to taking part in weaving design thinking into public health research through exploring applications of data science and human-computer interaction. Finally, Dr. Michael Pratt, Director of the Institute for Public Health at UC San Diego stated, “What a wonderful event to stimulate creative thinking and discussion about a multi-sectoral future for public health. More importantly this is a jumping off point for a new School of Public Health here at UC San Diego where we can truly put these concepts into action and positivity impact population health in San Diego and the world!”
(Pictured Left to Right: Michael Pratt, Director of the Institute for Public Health; Larry Smarr, Founding Director of CalIT2; Doug Ziedonis, Associate Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences; Cheryl Anderson, Associate Director and Interim Department Chair, Family Medicine and Public Health)
The next installment of this event will revolve around strengthening the exchange of ideas through translating new interactions between attendees into platforms for growth into actionable work. Presenting attendees with the environment to unearth challenges and navigate evolving topics across varying expertise will create opportunities to develop an agile framework for public health solutions.