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HEALTH X DESIGN CHALLENGE WINNERS HONORED FOR SOLUTIONS THAT IMPROVE EVERYDAY HEALTH USING TECHNOLOGY

BOSTON, MA -- October 16, 2019 -- Mad*Pow, a purpose-driven organization that strives to work on projects that promote health, financial wellbeing, and social impact, today announced the winners of the 2019 Health x Design Challenge. The Health x Design Challenge was issued by Mad*Pow’s Center for Health Experience Design (CHXD) and Health 2.0 Advocates, with prizes funded by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWFJ). The Challenge asked the health and design communities to envision solutions that would reshape everyday life to be healthier by default. Winners of this year’s challenge are Bella Steiner, Sarah Graf, and Sarah Weng for their “Culdesac” building design, and Deirdre Nichonaill, Estefania Ciliotta, and Houjiang Liu for their “Smooth Commuting” submission.

“Building a healthier society requires innovation and creative approaches to making systematic changes that encourage people to make healthy choices by default,” said Amy Heymans, Founder and Chief Experience Officer at Mad*Pow. “The judging team was impressed by the quality and imagination displayed in the Design Challenge submissions and we’re excited to see so many creative minds envisioning a healthier society.”

The focus of the Health x Design Challenge was to imagine how, in the near future, technology might be used to make health a part of our daily routines. The judging panel sought solutions that targeted specific healthy behaviors or that envisioned broad, systemic change. Winning entries envisioned ways to use design and technology to reshape how we eat, sleep, socialize, move from place to place and entertain ourselves.

“The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is working alongside others to build a national culture of health, in which everyone in America has a fair and just opportunity to lead their healthiest life possible,” said Stephen Downs, RWJF’s chief technology and strategy officer. “Unfortunately, it has become harder and harder to live a healthy life and we need imaginative new visions of how housing, transportation and other aspect of our everyday lives can be designed for better health. These winning solutions push our thinking in important ways.”

Winners Bella Steiner, MBA, MPH, and Sarah Weng, MBA, MPH, recent graduates of the Yale School of Management, and Sarah Graf, who is still an MBA candidate at Yale, created “Culdesac,” a design targeting healthy behaviors for quality social connection. They were the winner in the “address a target behavior at the systems level” category. Culdesac envisions an urban midrise apartment experience that facilitates regular organic interactions between neighbors, creates living spaces that adjust to residents’ changing lifestyles and life cycles, and promotes intergenerationality. Culdesac would feature shared kitchen space, access to CSA (community supported agriculture) shares for better quality food, modular private living spaces that can be adjusted as needs change, an AI supported “bulletin board” that helps connects residents for exercise or other activities, and many other features that encourage residents to make healthy choices by default. The judges chose this entry as a winner because the material that was presented was excellent, and it pushes the envelope for how housing could be constructed to decrease loneliness and break down intergenerational barriers. They had a clear 10-year timeline for implementation with clear understanding that there is evolution needed in construction technology and policy.

Deirdre Nichonaill, Estefania Ciliotta, and Houjiang Liu, three master’s degree candidates from Northeastern University’s Experience Design graduate program, won for their “Smooth Commuting” submission in the “reimagine a system or space” category. Smooth Commuting envisions a way to mitigate the negative health effects on “extreme commuters” – those who commute 90 minutes or more. The solution includes a major system redesign that would provide transportation that is more reliable, easier to navigate, and more comfortable. Trains would provide more space, and options for quiet cars, work space, or even exercise. The commuting system would also include better communication on delays, stations with more comfortable, enclosed spaces to wait for the train, and other features that reduce the stress and hassle of a long commute. This entry was chosen as a winner for its efforts to understand how to make long commutes (something generally hated) into something desirable. The team worked hard to understand the current problem and they thought broadly about all the pieces of an extremely complicated puzzle. Their submission was well designed, thorough and used a systems-thinking approach. In addition to the winning submissions, the judging panel also named two honorable mention entries. “Sonic Health” by Charles Morrow Productions proposed using environmental sound design to benefit people biologically and psychologically by improving the native audio ecology of a space. “Better Food for Seniors” by Denise C. Tahara, MBA, PhD, Xue Bai, MPS, Mary McBride, PhD, and Kavita Ahluwalia, DDS, MPH, is an integrated medical, social, and public health solution providing nutrient-rich foods for malnourished seniors.

All entries were reviewed by panel of judges, including Vanessa Mason from Institute for the Future, Judith Anderson from Mass College of Art & Design, Stacey Chang from Dell Medical School, Allison Arieff from SPUR and the New York Times, Jeff Risom from the Gehl Institute, Alexis Wise from Sidewalk Labs, Lori Nelson from the City of Boston, Liz Jackson from the Disabled List, and Amy Heymans from Mad*Pow. This esteemed panel chose the winning entrants, who will share up to $10,000 in prizes.

For more detail on the winning entries, visit https://centerhxd.com/collaborations/health-x-design-challenge-winners/.

To learn more about using technology and design to improve health, visit the Center for Health Experience Design at https://centerhxd.com/.

About Mad*Pow
Mad*Powis a purpose-driven organization that strives to work on projects that promote health, financial wellbeing, and social impact. Since 2000, Mad*Pow has been collaborating with clients to make a positive influence on people’s lives and solve real world problems. Mad*Pow’s senior team of 80+ designers, strategists, behavior change experts, researchers, technologists, and creative thinkers are focused on helping our clients with experience innovation, behavior change, and digital solutions. About Robert Wood Johnson Foundation For more than 45 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. We are working alongside others to build a national Culture of Health that provides everyone in America a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org. Follow the Foundation on Twitter at www.rwjf.org/twitter or on Facebook at www.rwjf.org/facebook. About Health 2.0 Advocates Health 2.0 Advocates Inc is a 501(c )(3)California-based non-profit corporation. Its mission is to support programs and competitions that promote the development of innovative applications and technologies which improve health and wellness and tackle some of the most difficult challenges in health care. ###