LIGHT focuses on the co-creative design of cost-effective technology solutions to healthcare challenges in low- and middle-income countries and in doing so, we investigate the design processes that produce effective and usable devices. We use design ethnography to develop a deep understanding of contexts and stakeholders to inform design decisions.
For more information, visit the LIGHT website.
Prospective graduate students should apply to the Department of Mechanical Engineering or Department of Biomedical Engineering PhD program and indicate in their application their interest in working with Professor Sienko.
The design, development, and implementation of health-related technologies for resource limited settings require a detailed consideration of the end user and target community that goes beyond the traditional engineering design needs assessment. In a broader sense, economic, social, and cultural constraints must be considered for successful implementation of technologies. Such constraints are often difficult or impossible to ascertain a priori, necessitating significant fieldwork; there is currently no database where prospective designers for global health can review how others have fared with similar and diverse challenges. We have developed a compendium of medical devices through research of best practices in medical devices designed for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of the World Health Organization top ten causes of death in low-income countries in addition to Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 (maternal and infant/child mortality). The online, free, and wiki-based compendium of global health medical device allows users to search for any medical device that is designed for or used in a developing setting based on a given health challenge (ex. HIV, Malaria, etc.), or device classification (ex. diagnostic, prevention, treatment), or device stage (concept, clinical trial, market), or region. The wiki-based nature of the compendium allows users to add new device cases to the existing database.
Access the compendium here.
The Design for Global Health Academic Program provides students with an opportunity to address global health challenges through design ethnography at a field site abroad and design coursework at the University of Michigan.
The Multidisciplinary Design (MDP) Minor – Global Health Design (GHD) Specialization, offered jointly by the MDP Minor program and Global Health Design Initiative (GHDI), provides students with an opportunity to address global health challenges through clinical immersion and design. The core of the Global Health Design Specialization is an intense year-long design sequence featuring project scoping/clinical immersion in domestic or international clinics, co-creation with stakeholders, iterative ideation and prototyping, evaluation, and redesign. We envision students rotating through the GHD specialization as juniors and seniors, concentrating on a pre-designated global health challenge.
- Hold junior standing
- Have good academic standing based on an earned UM GPA of 2.8 or higher
- Completion of the MDP Minor Intro. Design, Build, Test requirement
- ME 499: Front-End Design (3 credits)
This course will examine processes of design, focusing on the front-end of design. The strategies taught in the course are based on successful methods experts use to achieve design success, and are supplemented by readings on practice and research demonstrating their success. Coursework will focus on applications in a variety of design situations.
Students should enroll in ME499 during their junior year in order to prepare them for their clinical immersion experience.
Students have the option of taking ME499 “off-line,” meaning they will not formally enroll in the course but will be required to complete and submit all coursework and course assignments. Students who choose this option are eligible to receive ENGR 355 credit.
- Field work preparation
Students are expected to complete readings and self-guided study related to their global health project theme and clinical immersion field site location. It is required for students to submit their clinical immersion field work preparation plan to GHDI for approval.
Students can enroll for up to 2 credits of ENGR355 for the pre-immersion trainin. (Registration for this course can be spread across multiple semesters.)
- Connections Coursework (3 credit minimum)
The GHD connections is intended to deepen the student’s knowledge of global health and should be taken outside of the College of Engineering. Students are encouraged to take a course that will complement understanding of their project’s thematic area.
It is recommended, but not required, for students to take their connections course before completing their clinical immersion experience.
- Clinical Immersion Design Experience
Students are required to complete an immersive design experience at an international or domestic field site. Students may develop and apply a variety of skills including identifying unmet needs with prospective end-users, using design ethnography techniques, establishing intercultural and interdisciplinary communication skills all while gaining an understanding of the local and broader contexts of design. Students will also generate preliminary user requirements and engineering specifications for a select design project topic. It is required for students to submit their proposed clinical immersion design experience to GHDI for approval.
Students can enroll for up to 3 credits of ENGR355 for the clinical immersion and design ethnography experience. (Registration for this course can be spread across multiple semesters.) The clinical immersion experience is generally completed during the summer between students’ junior and senior year.
- Design v1.0 – ME/ENGR450 (4 credits)
ME450/ENGR 450 (capstone senior design) exposes students to the design process from problem definition to concept generation, analysis, prototyping, evaluation, and report. Students will work on the global health project that they conceptualized and/or scoped at their clinical immersion field site.
Students should enroll in ME450/ENGR450 in the fall semester following their clinical immersion and design ethnography experience.
- Design v2.0 – ENGR455 (3 credits)
ENGR455 (second semester design) exposes the student and project to further design iteration and validation. ENGR455 provides students the opportunity to continue their project as an individual research project with faculty support and supervision. Students may propose an alternate course to complete following ME/ENGR450 to continue work on their design project. Approval from both the GHDI and faculty from the proposed alternate course will be required.
Students should enroll in ENGR455, or an approved alternate course, the semester directly following their completion of ME/ENGR450.
- Mentorship/leadership requirement – ENGR456 (2 credits)
Students must complete the MDP minor Mentorship/leadership requirement, which includes enrollment in and completion of ENGR 456. Students may serve as mentors for student projects supported by GHDI in order to fulfill the peer mentorship component of this requirement.
Students should fulfill the peer mentorship requirement during the winter semester following their clinical immersion experience.
For Global Health Design experience and overarching specialization program questions, contact the Global Health Design Initiative ( firstname.lastname@example.org).