Skip to content

Research Area

Aging is a gradual shift of autonomy from physical control to relational connectedness. Service as a social system was developed to provide this connection to human network. Scholars from the fields of design, nursing, engineering, and health informatics are collaborating to develop services that support older adults’ autonomy and healthy longevity. Focuses include: Technology Literacy, Emergency Evacuation, Health Autonomy.

Faculty Coordinator

Climate Change and Mental Health

This research group is seeking to understand attitudes in young adults (18-24) regarding climate change and how it affects mental health and health behaviors. The hypothesis is that the environmental risk wrought by climate change and the national conversation on sustainability likely leads to a spectrum of beliefs, behaviors, and values regarding personal agency and resilience, which are being loosely defined as climate nihilism, climate ambivalence, and climate hope. 

The working group will pursue two phases of data collection using complementary, cross-disciplinary methods (i.e., Design Toolkits, Online Surveys) to explore collective and relational aspects of climate change and health. Climate may be experienced emotionally by youth in two key ways: as stress, ongoing underlying feelings of concern, malaise or anxiety, or as shocks, coping with a sudden catastrophic environmental event, like a flood, storm, landslide, or wildfire.

CfD Team Members: Miso Kim, Michael A. Mages, and Estefania Ciliotta

Other Team Members: Sara Carr and Susan Mello

Students: Madison Thomas and Yechan Yang, CAMD Center for Design Dean’s Fellows

Research Paper Published: Carvings in Stone: design research for public health investigations in the age of COVID-19

Design For Empowered Patientship

This research team is mapping the healthcare ecosystems of Boston and Milan, exploring the co-design and co-production processes that contain evidence of patient-driven innovation. The project observes and maps different scenarios in which design plays a role in the interdisciplinary innovation process, mapping experiences and practices of products-services, technologies, organizational processes, initiatives, public programs or actions, and policies—with the goal of pinpointing and connecting this emergent knowledge to the actors’ system that produced them. The Boston map will be compared with Milano’s to clarify the nature of empowered patientship and identify opportunities for strategic cross-connections and research initiatives through interdisciplinary collaborations and partnerships. The project aims to promote a cultural, pragmatic, and interdisciplinary transition in healthcare systems. Nurturing a patient-centric development of new products-services provides more agency and choices for patients and promotes health equity and inclusion, impacting individual satisfaction and community welfare.

CfD Team Members: Miso Kim, Michael A. Mages, Estefania Ciliotta, and Paolo Ciuccarelli

Other Team Members: Susan Mello, Stefano Maffei, Beatrice Villari, and Massimo Bianchini

Presented at ServDes 2023.

Designing for Equity in Palliative Care – In Progress

This project seeks to increase health equity among older adults (65-90) with dementia in underserved communities by creating a toolkit to enhance their communication in the collective decision-making process for neuropalliative care. The research team will interview and conduct co-design workshops with patients, their families, and healthcare professionals to learn each stakeholder’s needs and to collect ideas. This data will identify gaps in the communication related to neuropalliative care, and lead to the design and development of a toolkit for community neurologists. This toolkit will include guidelines, protocols and interfaces for engaging in collective decision-making and facilitating more holistic conversations with patients.

CfD Team Members: Miso Kim, Michael A. Mages, Estefania Ciliotta, and Paolo Ciuccarelli

Other Team Members: Chistine Zizzi

Design for Enhancing Conversations about Reproductive Health – In Progress

This project aims to understand and map how young adults find information and communicate about reproductive and sexual health in order to design communication tools. The goal of the communication tools is to promote the trustworthy sharing of information about this topic and enhance the reproductive health of this population. The research team wants to understand how this demographic learned about sexual health in the past and what they think is the best way to learn about the subject. The team also wants to find out if there is a need for an app that teaches this subject or connects the users to parents in order to have these conversations.

CfD Team Members: Estefania Ciliotta, Miso Kim, Michael A. Mages

Other Team Members: Aleksandra Jakubowski, Herman Saksono Livia Moses

Design, Health & Magic

Design ideas can come from the most unlikely of sources… MAGIC! This day-long hackathon sought to find design solutions to create safer, less wasteful medical devices, including central line kits (used to insert venous catheters to administer medications, measure pressures within the body, and draw blood and labs), by drawing inspiration from the design of props used in magic performances. While magic and medical devices may seem an unusual combination at first, those in attendance instantly saw how the object design strategies used in magic can be utilized in design exercises to inspire safer, more patient-centered medical devices.

CfD Members: Estefania Cilliota, Miso Kim, Michael A. Mages

Other Members: Jeanette Andrews (Co-Founder, The Magic and Medicine Lab), Stephen P. Wood (Assistant Professor, MS, ACNP-BC, Co-Founder, The Magic and Medicine Lab), Linda Tvrdy (Associate Director, Health Sciences Entrepreneur Program)

Want to Stay Up to Date on the CfD?