Educating the next generation to solve complex health problems through design thinking


Posts in Summer Projects 2017
Summer Projects: Health Insights 215

Reports show that Philadelphia is one of the unhealthiest large cities in the United States. They also show how zip codes determine life expectancy within Philly: those in Center City are predicted 88 years while those in Kennsington are only given 68. What reports don’t show is what challenges those in the zip codes with lower life spans face when trying to lead healthier and longer lives. We are provided with statistics displaying the effects of neglect by the healthcare system on lower income areas; yet, we are not given the causes: the reasons behind the percentages.

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Summer Projects: ENT 3D Printing

In the Health Design Lab, there are always several projects going on at once. Whether that’s the smarterPLAY project looking at how community members use playgrounds and public space, or rehearsal of design thinking workshops, there’s constantly something interesting happening. One project that’s currently moving at a lightning fast pace, is our Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) 3D Printing Project. This project focuses on a surgery called mandibular reconstruction during which a part of the mandible is removed, leaving a gap in the bone that has to be supported by a metal plate. This plate must be manually bent and re-bent so it fits into the patients jaw just right; this process can take up to 45 minutes and is common practice in most operating rooms.

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Summer Projects: smarterPLAY

As summer begins in our new Vault, we greet a new crop of interns and a new set of projects. One of these projects is smarterPlay, a study that aims at analyzing the use of children's playgrounds in order to help design playgrounds that promote health and physical activity. With Philadelphia being one of the country’s most unhealthy cities, and with a childhood obesity rate of 50%, promoting children’s health through play will be very important down the line. For the doctors in the ER and the rest of the hospital as well, having a generally healthier population overall would mean fewer complications when people do get sick. We partnered with Studio Ludo, an non-profit organization that studies children’s play in America, in order to assess some of the playgrounds in the city. With Philly’s Rebuild project, in which over half a billion dollars has been allocated to renovate playgrounds across the city, we had plenty of choices as to how and where we could do our research.

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