Jeff Doctor has DESIGNs on Change
Bon Ku, MD, MPP, combines the best of his two worlds—medicine and design. He is an emergency medicine physician and the founder and director of JeffDESIGN, a program at Jefferson’s Sidney Kimmel Medical College (SKMC) that trains med students in design thinking.
Ku, associate professor at SKMC and assistant dean for Health and Design, leads students in thinking “outside the box” to create devices and architectural areas that can solve some of healthcare’s biggest challenges. He says he loves his job: one minute he could be working a clinical shift in the Emergency Department, the next he could be running a workshop for medical students on how to redesign spaces to make patients more comfortable and doctors more effective.
JeffDESIGN is the first design thinking program in a medical school. One challenge the doctor believes needs to be addressed is gender bias in healthcare.
“During a shift in the Emergency Department, I started asking female physicians about how often their patients mistaken them for being nurses,” he says. Unfortunately, it happens a lot—and not just in the United States, but around the world. His remedy? “We need more women in leadership positions in healthcare... and more support from male colleagues.” He also sees the need to use his design talents to create healthy spaces for working mothers in healthcare.
“I have been working with architects to promote the inclusion of lactation rooms as best practice for designing healthy spaces... How can we be promoting health if we can’t provide decent and convenient lactation rooms for doctors and nurses with newborn children?”