Salam Beah, 1st year medical student at Sidney Kimmel Medical College

Iteration: The Medical Student vs. The Design Thinker

It is no surprise that Jefferson is contributing to the next generation of healthcare leaders but I am pretty honored to go down the unbeaten path of the College within a College-Design Track. It is really complimenting the classroom setting and clinical exposure I knew I would be getting in ways I had never thought of. At its onset, the design track and the rest of my education felt at odds with one another, I was not sure how they would fit together. I had envisioned learning design thinking would help me make better clinical decisions, and while that is true it’s really going to help me approach the problems and challenges in healthcare on a grander scale.

We get to participate in hands-on modules where we get to actively learn the different concepts of design thinking instead of just sitting through didactic lectures. Through these modules I keep accumulating these interesting maxims like “fail faster” and “iteration and evaluation trump planning” both used in reference to prototyping. Both these sayings hold a lot of truth everywhere but in the patient room. I am learning pretty quickly that I do not have the luxury of going into a 15 minute patient visit without a plan. Bridging my medical training and the process of design thinking will be an interesting challenge that I am thrilled to undertake.

Affinity mapping exercise at University of the Arts

As a future physician my job does not stop when I leave a patient room and I feel fortunate to be getting the tools to not only discern and recognize problems in the healthcare system but how to generate, test, and improve on solutions. My favorite part of the program is that I am getting these tools as I go through my training before I am practicing and feeling more constrained from being in the system. One of our recent modules at Philadelphia University involved “hacking” medical devices in order to try and improve them. Tod Corlett, director of the Industrial Design Program, who led the module had noted that as medical students we had the added benefit of having somewhat of an outsider perspective on healthcare that can aid in thinking of solutions to problems.

Salam Beah, medical student in the CwiC-Design Program at Sidney Kimmel Medical College.

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