Illinois Tech’s Institute of Design and UChicago Medicine’s Innovation Unit Sign Multi-year Agreement to Drive Change in How and Where Healthcare Is Delivered

Illinois Tech’s Equitable Healthcare Lab and UChicago Medicine's Center for Healthcare Delivery Science and Innovation (HDSI) are applying human-centered design to the front lines of care delivery.


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CHICAGO—April 27, 2023—A new collaboration between the Institute of Design (ID) at Illinois Tech and an innovation unit at the University of Chicago Medicine aims to change how South Side patients, healthcare providers, and communities deliver and receive medical care. 

This two-year effort brings together ID’s Equitable Healthcare Lab, which uses design methods to examine health systems processes and develop inclusive strategies and solutions, with UChicago Medicine’s Center for Healthcare Delivery Science and Innovation (HDSI). The two South Side organizations will work together—with their respective students, faculty, staff, and the local community—by leveraging human-centered design methods to improve patient and provider experiences. Human-centered design is a problem-solving methodology that integrates human needs, behaviors, and goals into all phases of its development process.

Initial projects for the collaboration include designing a program to deliver hospital care in patients’ homes, streamlining patient discharges, and optimizing trauma resuscitation in the Emergency Department, among other efforts. 

“It’s a natural fit for Illinois Tech and UChicago Medicine to collaborate as neighbors serving Chicago’s South Side,” says Illinois Tech Interim Provost Kenneth T. Christensen. “ID is an established leader in creating innovative design solutions to complex problems, and this partnership furthers our unique educational and research offerings in our shared mission to serve the community and advance equity in healthcare.” 

As part of the unique engagement, Equitable Healthcare Lab designers will provide recommendations to implement new healthcare design solutions, provide training for health system employees, and create knowledge-sharing opportunities based on the collaboration. In return, they will be able to access UChicago Medicine’s state-of-the-art facilities and internationally renowned clinical experts while leveraging real-world settings to better understand and apply their work.

Meanwhile, UChicago graduate students studying bioinformatics, medicine, and healthcare delivery science will receive joint instruction on human-centered healthcare design from UChicago and ID faculty. And Illinois Tech ID students will have an opportunity to research, inform, and test new design methods on projects across the health system.

“The healthcare ecosystem is notoriously complex, but we believe this partnership will make important strides in making medicine fit all people,” says Stephen Weber, M.D., UChicago Medicine’s Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President for Clinical Effectiveness who is also the senior adviser to HDSI. “This work is especially critical as our two institutions work together to develop tangible, practical steps to reduce health inequities and improve workflows that will lead to better outcomes for the communities we serve.”


Kim Erwin, Director of ID’s Equitable Healthcare Lab and Associate Professor of Healthcare Design and Design Methods at the Institute of Design, has been a visiting scholar in HDSI at UChicago Medicine since early 2022. The new collaboration builds on her earlier work. 

“HDSI has been an ideal partner because of its dedication to promoting new ideas and new approaches in healthcare,” Erwin says. “Finding ways to infuse design into multiple parts of the UChicago Medicine healthcare system has been a great privilege, and I look forward to expanding on those efforts as our collaboration continues.” 

Both teams hope their optimization work will accelerate the understanding of human-centered healthcare design, provide mentorship opportunities, and build capacity in the application of human-centered design and design methods while improving health system operations, patient safety, patient outcomes, and patient care delivery.

Already, Erwin and colleagues have worked with HDSI to bring new perspectives to high-priority health system projects by designing equitable healthcare delivery processes that improve outcomes, cost less, and allow UChicago Medicine to serve more patients. 

“We are excited about introducing more human-centered design approaches to our institution,” says Sharon Markman, HDSI Director and Executive Director of Clinical Excellence, Innovation, and Engagement. “One of our health system priorities is to provide safe, equitable, high-quality care. Our organizations’ shared vision of listening to frontline providers, patients and the community creates a unique opportunity to merge two leading institutions and their research priorities.”

ID’s Equitable Healthcare Lab will continue to collaborate with UChicago Medicine’s operational teams to introduce and expand design methods and to support innovation and discovery in their daily routines.


A research center fully embedded in the UChicago Medicine’s prestigious health system, HDSI was established in 2016 to bring together teams that apply rigorous science to address pressing challenges in healthcare delivery. Uniquely positioned to gather ideas from the front lines of medicine, HDSI works to strengthen quality, safety, value, and patient experience while sharing real-world innovations to other healthcare organizations around the globe.

ID is recognized worldwide as a pioneer in human-centered design, systems design, and other methods that can be applied to address real-world problems and transform fields including healthcare, technology, and education. The Equitable Healthcare Lab is part of the ID Action Labs initiative, launched in 2022. The Lab addresses inequity in healthcare delivery through demonstration projects, advising and capacity building, community engagement, and funded research. 

“Through the Action Labs, the Institute of Design becomes a driver for design-led implementation projects and a true resource for our neighbors,” says the Dean of the Institute of Design Anijo Mathew. “Solution-oriented and human-centered, the Action Labs act as catalysts for systemic change within our community by taking faculty research and transforming it into real-world applications.”

UChicago Medicine and Illinois Tech are both located on Chicago’s South Side in the culturally rich and diverse communities of Hyde Park and Bronzeville. 

“This collaboration gives both of our universities the opportunity to harness the shared academic strength of our faculty, staff, and students to bring about substantial change that’s focused on reducing health inequities to improve the lives of the people in the communities we each call home,” says Mark Anderson, M.D., Ph.D., Dean of UChicago’s Biological Sciences Division.

The partnership between Illinois Tech and UChicago Medicine officially began in December 2022 and in its initial term is set to last for two years.

Institute of Design (ID)

At the Institute of Design (ID) at Illinois Tech, we look at the world in new ways to create the change we hope to see in it. Since our founding by Bauhaus émigré László Moholy-Nagy in 1937, we’ve continually turned design into a powerful tool anyone can use to transform the systems that shape our lives—from cities, education, and finance to food, healthcare, and technology. We’re the only US design school devoted completely to graduate students, and the first to offer a Ph.D. By uniting science and rigor with creativity and rapid iteration, we’re recognized around the globe as pioneers in human-centered design, systems design, and other methods that apply design to the real world. Learn more about ID at

Illinois Institute of Technology

Based in the global metropolis of Chicago, Illinois Tech was born to liberate the collective power of difference to advance technology and progress for all. It is the only tech-focused university in the city, and it stands at the crossroads of exploration and invention, advancing the future of Chicago and the world. It offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering, computing, architecture, business, design, science and human sciences, and law. Illinois Tech students are guaranteed hands-on experiences, personalized mentorship, and job readiness through the university's one-of-a-kind Elevate program. Its graduates lead the state and much of the nation in economic prosperity. Its faculty and alumni built the Chicago skyline. And every day in the living lab of the city, Illinois Tech fuels breakthroughs that change lives. Visit

Center for Healthcare Delivery Science and Innovation (HDSI)

The Center for Healthcare Delivery Science and Innovation (HDSI) was established in 2016 with the leadership support of Clinical Excellence at UChicago Medicine. The rationale for the Center was to bring together teams that apply rigorous science to address the most pressing challenges in healthcare delivery. The Center’s goal is to strengthen the quality, safety, value and patient experience of healthcare locally, and spread these real-world innovations to other healthcare organizations nationally and globally. HDSI is a research center fully embedded in the UChicago Medicine health system. The Center provides research funding, training, logistical support for embedded projects, and opportunities for networking and impact.

Media contacts

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Illinois Institute of Technology
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Kevin Dollear
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Illinois Institute of Technology
Cell: 773-860-5712