Currently the design, development, and implementation of medical devices insufficiently address health care needs in low-resource settings. To develop technologies that address the complex challenges of global health, we have studied how conventional engineering design processes can be supplemented by methods derived from the social sciences. This presentation will draw upon global health technologies we have recently designed and studied to illustrate the need for engineers to understand the broader context in which a technology will be used, as well as the need for design decision-making processes to be based on rigorous studies that generate quantitative outcomes rather than anecdotal evidence. The presentation will also highlight some of our other recent design science and engineering education research.
Kathleen H. Sienko is an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan (UM). She earned her Ph.D. in Medical Engineering and Bioastronautics from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Science and Technology and holds an S.M. in Aeronautics & Astronautics from MIT and a B.S. in Materials Engineering from the University of Kentucky. She directs the Sienko Research Group and UM Global Health Design Initiative and co-founded the UM Center for Socially Engaged Design. She is currently serving as a member of The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Board on Global Health.