Health Design Lab

Robert Pugliese

Robert S. Pugliese, PharmD, BCPS


Robert S. Pugliese is Director of Innovation Design at Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health where he co-founded the Health Design Lab, a creative space built with the purpose of merging together design-studio ethos with science-oriented discipline to foster innovation in healthcare. As somebody who enjoys empowering future health care providers to be change makers, Robert leads programs that train students to be health design thinkers and innovators. A Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD), Robert has spent over ten years practicing and teaching in Emergency Medicine. He believes that including both the patient and provider voice is vital to healthcare design, and he brings each of these perspectives to his work through his experience as a clinician and through his own journey coping with insulin-dependent diabetes.

Born and raised just outside of New York City, Robert has found a welcome home in Philadelphia, where he lives with his wife and two children. He has experienced first-hand how public spaces that connect to nature and agriculture can have a positive influence on a person’s health and wellbeing, and he seeks to bring that transformative power to others by serving as a board member of Bartram’s Garden. He brings his expertise in Health Design to a wide array of public health challenges such as food justice and the opioid crisis. One program he is excited to be a part of, CoLab Philadelphia, brings a converted Airstream trailer to public spaces in underserved neighborhoods in order to activate and support conversations around health and social determinants.

A national leader in pharmacy, Robert received the Prescott Award in 2018 and is Chair of the ASHP Section Advisory Group on Emergency Care. He has presented on the intersection of healthcare and design at national venues such as SXSW and Stanford Medicine X.

Peer Reviewed Publications and Other Contributions

From Ideation to Practice: How pharmacists and students can leverage hackathons and innovation labs to accelerate innovation in Pharmacy. JAPhA

A Three-dimensional Printed Low-cost Anterior Shoulder Dislocation Model for Ultrasound-guided Injection Training. Cureus

Albert B. Prescott Pharmacy Leadership Award 2018

Design Thinking In Pharmacy Education: Inspiring Creative Problem Solving in the Next Generation of Pharmacists. Innov Pharm

Subacute combined degeneration of the spinal cord in a patient abusing nitrous oxide and self-medicating with cyanocobalamin. AJHP


Scholarly Inquiry - Design, Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University, Free Emergency Medicine Pharmacology Courses

Follow @ASHP_EMPHARM and visit the ASHP Section of Clinical Specialists and Scientists

Twitter: @theEDpharmacist        LinkedIn:

Improving health care requires the participation of both clinicians and patients working together. However, most interactions between patients and providers occur in sterile clinic spaces, hospital rooms and doctor's offices. Rarely do providers and patients communicate in an environment that fosters collaboration and inspiration.
Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works.
— Steve Jobs