scientist with pipette

Design for Public Health

Joining forces with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Dean Michelle Williams, HGHI was instrumental in bringing Patrick Whitney to Harvard. Whitney, professor of the practice at Harvard Chan School and former dean of the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology, brings a new, iterative, and multidisciplinary dimension to some of the stickiest problems in public health. At HGHI, Whitney has found a base and many ways to collaborate with existing programs, such as bringing a design lens to our India TB project and to our climate change and health work — the latter via a workshop we are organizing with the Boston Public Health Commission on heating and cooling centers in the city. 

While some of this work is on pause during the pandemic, Whitney and his colleague Andre Nogueira have launched the “Remember Now” project with support from HGHI. The project aims to capture the immediate impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on our lives and how we experience our surroundings, our communities, and our relationships. To ensure that the feelings and responses we are experiencing are not lost, but preserved to inspire ideas for future pandemic solutions, the “Remember Now” project will learn from the behaviors, adaptations, concerns, and delights of people living during COVID-19. Information will be collected through a large-scale remote ethnography carried out by students in Hong Kong, Thailand, Brazil, Portugal, and other locations. The findings from the interviews and the analysis to follow will inform the project’s deliverables.