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Human-Centered Design Laboratory

The Kern Institute at the Medical College of Wisconsin is advancing innovation in medical education by applying human-centered design principles and the tenants of the entrepreneurial mindset: curiosity, connections, and creating value. Learn how we are partnering with faculty, students and staff to innovate medical education through inclusive, creative problem-solving techniques and design thinking methodology.

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Human-Centered Design is a team-based approach to problem-solving that uses empathy to develop a deep understanding of a problem through engagement with stakeholders. This allows the problem to be clearly articulated, which paves the way for brainstorming of solutions, followed by prototyping a solution that is most impactful. There is then continuous and intentional short-cycle iterative improvement to the solutions design. Human-centered design can be practiced as a standalone discipline in a core fundamentals workshop, or taught by embedding the methodology within an existing curriculum.

The Human-Centered Design Lab partners with departments, committees, pathways and other groups across the MCW/Froedtert health system to solve problems though facilitated Design Sprints. The Lab also offers a variety of workshops to help groups use this methodology to develop and advance projects.

The Kern Institute Human-Centered Design Lab offers partnership across MCW to problem-solve, investigate possible solutions and advance programs and projects using Human-Centered Design Methodology. Our team is currently partnering on the following projects:

Curriculum Redesign 
Using Human-Centered Design to determine what MCW faculty, students and staff value in a new medical school curriculum. This work is in partnership with the MCW Curriculum Redesign Steering Committee.

GME Well-Being
Using Human-Centered Design to determine what well-being initiatives are valuable to residents in their residency programs. This work is in partnership with the Medical College of Wisconsin Affiliated Hospitals.

Student Inclusion
Using Human-Centered Design to define what student inclusion efforts and initiatives are valuable to students from diverse backgrounds at MCW. This work is in partnership with the MCW Office of Student Inclusion and Diversity.

Student Services
Using Human-Centered Design to determine what services provided by MCW are valuable to students. This work is in partnership with the MCW Office of Student Services.

Student Honor Society
Using Human-Centered Design to determine what value an honor society provides to students. This work is in partnership with the AOA Chapter of MCW.

Human-Centered Design Lab Members

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Karen J. Marcdante, MD

Director, Human-Centered Design Lab, Kern Institute

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M. Chris Decker, MD

Member, Human-Centered Design Lab, Kern Institute

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Julia Schmitt

Program Manager

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Ilya Avdeev, PhD

Member, Human-Centered Design Lab, Kern Institute

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Amy Beierle, MA

Instructional Designer; Member, Human-Centered Design Lab, Kern Institute

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Ethan Duwell, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

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Kathryn Havens, MD

Member, Human-Centered Design Lab, Kern Institute

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Kristina Kaljo, PhD

Assistant Professor

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Ramneet Mann

Student Member, Human Centered Design Lab, Kern Institute

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Lauren Stippich

Student Member, Human-Centered Design Lab, Kern Institute

Contact Us

Julia Schmitt

Program Manager

(414) 955-4960
Kern Institute
Medical College of Wisconsin
8701 Watertown Plank Rd., Suite M1990
Milwaukee, WI 53226