Joyce Lee Blog Post

How to Change Health Care by Design

Joyce Lee Blog Post

A post by our friend, and Transform Community member @joyclee, Doctor as Designer, from the University of Michigan 

I started my journey as Doctor as Designer almost one year ago, which was my personal story of participatory design for health. I joined forces with colleagues like Matt Kenyon from the Stamps School of Art and Design, and through the year, under the auspices of, we have been working on a variety of initiatives to promote work focused on integrating health, technology, and participatory design.

Along this journey we have met an incredible diverse group of collaborators and colleagues, which lead to a groundswell of support for an event that we are holding next week on August 16th at the University of Michigan, the inaugural We #Makehealth Fest. 

Check out this cool video by our colleague Andrew Maynard:



You can click here for more details.

This is an event inspired by the maker movement but with the unique twist of having a focus on health.


What is the Maker Movement?

According to Wikipedia, it’s a technology-focused DIY (Do It Yourself) Movement, which emphasizes “learning-through-doing…in an informal, networked, peer-led, and shared learning motivated by fun and self-fulfillment. Maker culture encourages novel applications of technologies, and the exploration of intersections between traditionally separate domains and ways of working.”


What will happen at the fest?  

We have some amazing speakers lined up:

o   Jose Gomez Marquez, a TED Global Fellow and Director of the Little Devices Lab at MIT, who promotes and enables DIY medical technology, and spearheads MakerNurse, an initiative supported by the RWJ Foundation to support the creativity and inventiveness of American nurses.

o   John Costik, a type 1 diabetes hacker, father, community collaborator and innovator for the #wearenotwaiting movement. Check out Kerri Sparling’s blog post for more about his amazing work that has touched the lives of thousands of patients and families with type 1 diabetes.

  • We will also be featuring a screening of "Maker", a feature-length documentary on the Maker Movement and its impact on society, culture and the economy in the United States.
  • This event is participatory, so that the community will be sharing their personal stories, Do-It-Yourself Technologies, and creations for managing health. We have an amazing line-up of speakers and exhibitors (to be announced soon) who have volunteered to share their tools, technologies, and skills at the event.
  • We welcome all Patients, Health care Providers, Artists, Designers, Parents, Kids, Techies, Engineers, Makers, Tinkerers, Scientists, Advocates, Researchers, Administrators, Business/Community Partners, and Public Health Professionals to attend!


Why the We Make Health Fest?

With this event we want to:

o   Encourage "design for health" at a grassroots level; anyone, even kids should think of themselves as designers.

o   Learn about new tools and technologies that could be used to promote health (wellness or chronic disease management). There are a ton of makers in our community who we hope to meet.

o   Bridge the gap between a technical and design community whose members want to work on health projects but need a health partner, and health partners (patients, caregivers, researchers) who have ideas but need a technical collaborator to bring them to life.


How can I participate even if I can’t come to the event?

o   We will be recording the talks and documenting the exhibits during the event so stay tuned even if you can’t join us in AA!

o   Follow us on Twitter! Please follow our @healthbyus handle which is the larger community that supports the Make Health Fest as well our event Twitter handle @MakeHealthUM. We will be using the hashtag #makehealth during the event.

o   Use these templates to create your own “mobile app” and share via social media using the hashtag #makehealth !

o   Check out B’s new app creation for food allergies!

o   If you need to connect with a collaborator or partner, check out

o   Please sign up to get more information about how you can participate in the movement!


And I just want to acknowledge that this has been a community production and labor of love from the organizers of the We #makehealth Fest, who include Matt Kenyon, Patricia Anderson, Emily Hirschfeld, Nancy Benovich Gilby, Scott Olson, Emily Puckett Rodgers, and Sean Doolan.





Twitter: @MakeHealthUM

Twitter: @healthbyus

Google Plus: Make Health UM

The We Make Health Fest is a project of HealthDesignBy.Us


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