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changing the world What your investment in UT makes possible priorities, and loved ones as on their particular maladies, Lopez says, the Design Institute for Health will systematically use design and creativity to generate better health outcomes at lower costs. “We’ll examine everything,” he says, “from the design of health products to the architecture of the hospital to the functionality of the health ecosystem itself.” “Our goal is nothing less than to redesign health care delivery in America,” says Doug Dempster, dean of the College of Fine Arts. “In the process, we are ensuring that our design program is a unifying entrepreneurial discipline at The University of Texas.” If there is one thing that unifies patients in the realm of health design, it might just be the dreaded open-to-the-back hospital gown. Is it in the queue for redesign? Given that Clay Johnston, the medical school’s founding dean, cited the infamous garment in his “Ten Backward Things about our Health Care System” in these pages earlier this year, you can count on it. Stay tuned.

HEALTH REVOLUTION With the launch of Dell Medical School, UT has a unique opportunity to rethink everything about health care.


an you imagine a world in which we all lead healthier lives ,

with only the sickest of the sick treated in hospitals? That scenario may arrive sooner than you think. The university’s medical school is still under construction, but faculty members

there and throughout UT are focused on interdisciplinary approaches that promise to improve life for patients and practitioners alike. So sit tight—help is on the way, stat.

Above: Dr. Clay Johnston

with members of the staff at University Medical Center–Brackenridge; the medical school will have 600,000 square feet of space dedicated to education, care, and research. Opposite: Students gain

hands-on practice at the School of Nursing’s Simulation and Skills Laboratories. creditS: Marsha Miller; Dell

Medical School (2); Jeremy Pawlowski/School of Nursing

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To glimpse the future of health care, start with the Design Institute for Health, a partnership between Dell Medical School and the College of Fine Arts. President Greg Fenves has made it a priority to pursue innovative approaches not just in health education, but also patient care and community service. Accordingly, this first-of-its-kind institute is dedicated to applying design thinking and creative solutions to our health care challenges and then—crucially—integrating those innovations into medical education, care, and community health programs in cost-effective ways. Two veterans of the internationally recognized design and consulting firm IDEO were recruited to lead the institute: Stacey Chang, IDEO’s former managing director of health and wellness; and Beto Lopez, BS ’00, MS ’02, the

firm’s former global lead of systems design. IDEO is credited with a number of landmark designs that established its reputation as an innovator, including the original computer mouse. Since then, the firm has expanded its reach from products to experiences, contributing in areas ranging from nontraditional classrooms to retail spaces and even public policy. The nation is more than ready, says Chang, for human-centered designs that reduce waiting room times, help people tend to their own health, and create a more compassionate atmosphere in hospitals and clinics. “There are endless opportunities,” he says, “to rethink products and systems so they better serve people who need them.” With many providers already moving toward a system that focuses as much on people’s lives,

THE INNOVATOR NEXT DOOR The School of Nursing, neighbor to and integral component of the rising Dell complex, provides a window to the kind of innovative work that already characterizes UT’s medical teaching and research. The school, one of the state’s major centers of nursing education and research, may look dated on the outside next to the new medical buildings, but inside is a different story. With an infusion of medical school funding, including philanthropic dollars, the nursing school recently finished a complete revamp of its impressive Simulation and Skills Laboratories. The two schools are full partners in the updated and expanded labs, which take up much of Nursing’s fourth floor. Using high-end, stateof-the-art equipment, nursing students—as well as pharmacy, social work, and, soon, medical students—are able to work in tandem to hone foundational skills that will serve them throughout their careers. By role-playing with one another and with faculty members, and interacting with sophisticated mannequin “patients” in facsimile medical environments, the students can put their theoretical knowledge into practice through realistic simulations of patient care before ever setting foot in a real-life clinic or hospital. Simulation is fundamental to learning proper technique, says Scott Hudson, MS ’00, director of the labs. With a background in theater as well as nursing, Hudson’s creative know-how comes in handy for the performance aspect of the labs’ mission. “Through role-playing,” he says, “we try to create at various levels a realistic simulation of the medical world and patient care to offer the best learning environment we can for our students.”

The nursing school manufactures its own “bodily fluids” for the students to train with, including imitation blood and urine. (And you may never crave cherry pie again once you’ve seen what they do with pie filling.) The sophisticated, high-fidelity mannequins, on the other hand, can cost tens of thousands of

“Our goal is nothing less than to redesign health care delivery in America.” dollars. With human dimensions and weights, some feature veins that can be punctured by needles to draw and inject fluids, heartbeats that can be read by electrocardiograms and restarted with defibrillators, and other lifelike attributes. “It’s about opportunity,” says Leigh Goldstein, PhD ’13, an assistant professor of nursing and director of the Learning Enhancement and Academic Progress Center, which includes the labs. “We can spend hours in a hospital with our students and maybe put in only one I.V. So there might be 10 students and one of them gets to do it. “Or we can simulate everyone getting to do an I.V., over and over, in an hour or two. And that extends to things like watching a baby be born or assessing a hemorrhage. If that doesn’t happen in a hospital visit, they don’t get to experience

Higher Degrees of Health


he MD degrees from Dell Medical School will be the capstone to a number of health-related UT degree programs, including some that are brand new. In January, the School of Nursing is set to launch a doctor of nursing practice degree program, or DNP. Designed for nurses who are employed full time, the DNP curriculum will complement the university’s other professional practice doctoral programs, including the PharmD offered in the School of Pharmacy, by preparing graduates for today’s increasingly complex health care practice and clinical leadership roles. Other degree collaborations in the works include one in the Cockrell School in which medical students will take classes and work in research labs with Cockrell students to earn an MS in biomedical engineering.

s e p t e m b e r | o c t o b e r 2011

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Changing the World - Nov-Dec 2015  

Featured in The Alcalde, Nov/Dec 2015

Changing the World - Nov-Dec 2015  

Featured in The Alcalde, Nov/Dec 2015