Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University

College within the College

The College within the College Design Track (JeffDESIGN) teaches students to apply design thinking to solve healthcare challenges. The design program, the first-of-its-kind for a U.S. medical school, equips students to redesign healthcare systems, services, spaces and medical devices. The program format involves interactive workshops co-facilitated by designers, architects and device makers. Previous workshops have invited facilitators from Little Devices Lab at MIT, University of the Arts and Philadelphia University. 

The Director is Bon Ku, MD, MPP and the Associate Directors are Robert S. Pugliese, PharmD, BCPS and Geoffrey Hayden, MD.

Track Objectives

By the end of their second year, students in the JeffDESIGN track will be able to successfully:

  • Define design thinking in the context of patient care and healthcare delivery
  • Demonstrate an understanding of design methodology through participation in workshops and successful completion of workshop deliverables
  • Apply design thinking principles to solve a personally-developed inquiry question in the scope of healthcare
  • Develop and execute a design project through independent study, incorporating one or more of the design thinking principles covered during the workshops

Program Overview

In Years One and Two, the Program is taught in modules that are composed of group workshops (2-3 hours) and one or two didactic lectures (1 hour). Each workshop will have its own set of workshop-specific objectives rooted in core principle(s) or central tenet(s) of design thinking in the scope of health care. Workshops will involve collaborative group projects and design thinking exercises (e.g. ideation, creating scenarios, rapid prototyping, etc.). Each module will specifically address elements of the SKMC core competencies:

  • Professionalism and altruism
  • Medical knowledge
  • Patient care
  • Interpersonal and communication skills
  • Lifelong learning
  • Systems-based practice

In Years Three and Four, students will focus their efforts on creating a design project that will be completed by the end of Year Four. During Year Three, students will share updates on their progress during quarterly project meetings.

Previous workshops have covered the following:

  • Applying Do-It-Yourself technology for health
  • Redesigning the patient experience in the Emergency Department
  • Improving end-of-life communication between patients and providers
  • Redesigning medical devices

The application process includes a mandatory interview.

Contact Us

Bon S. Ku, MD, MPP
Associate Professor
Director, JeffDESIGN

1020 Sansom Street
Thompson Building, Suite 239
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Phone: (215) 955-6844
Fax: (215) 923-6225 fax