Creating with Community: An Introduction to Human-Centered Design for Public Health Intervention Development

Monday, June 22, 2020 - Friday, June 26, 2020 1:30 PM - 5:30 PM

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Course Description

This hands-on training workshop will introduce public health practitioners to the concept of Human-Centered Design (HCD). Traditionally, HCD has been used in engineering, business and marketing to co-develop optimal products and services. More recently, HCD has been used in the public health sector by institutions such as UNICEF, PSI and USAID to develop sustainable prevention and intervention programs for a range of health topics including health systems, obesity, infant mortality, and HIV/TB.

In the HCD process, public health practitioners first start by understanding the target community's needs using a variety of ethnographic and qualitative research methods. These findings are then used to build, iterate, and improve potential solutions in partnership with the community. By cultivating creativity and engaging key stakeholders, public health practitioners can develop and refine interventions, products, and services that are not only feasible and acceptable, but also desirable by the communities they are intended for to ensure sustainability of public health solutions.

This hands-on workshop will introduce HCD and will present participants with a public health challenge. Participants will work in teams to use HCD methodology (i.e. conducting design research, synthesizing insights, developing and testing early prototypes) to implement their solutions. Participants will also be introduced to developing and prototyping digital (mHealth) health products and services. HCD is intentionally multidisciplinary in nature and people with diverse backgrounds and experiences are encouraged to attend. We will use real world case studies with a focus on public health practice. We will provide examples of different ways that HCD has been employed in public health products, communications, services, organizational strategies, and business models.

Course Objectives

Participants will work in teams to apply human-centered design methods to tackle a significant public health challenge.

During this introductory workshop they will:


  • Understand what HCD is and how to apply it to public healt
  • Practice design research methods and apply appropriate frameworks to understand community need
  • Synthesize insights to uncover opportunities for interventio
  • Cultivate a creative approach to develop contextually appropriate intervention
  • Understand how to prototype and refine these concepts with target communities



Course Reading List
  • Bazzano AN, Martin J, Hicks E, Faughnan M, Murphy L.Human-centred design in global health: A scoping review of applications and contexts.PLoS One. 2017 Nov 1;12(11):e0186744.
  • Roberts JP, Fisher TR, Trowbridge MJ, Bent C. Healthc (Amst). 2016 Mar;4(1):11-4. A design thinking framework for healthcare management and innovation.
  • Schnall R et al. A user-centered model for designing consumer mobile health (mHealth) applications (apps). J Biomed Inform. 2016 Apr;60:243-51
  • Mooallam J. Death Reimagined (2015). Accessed at:


Rebecca Hope MBChB, MPH

Rebecca Hope is a physician and global health researcher with expertise in gender, rights and social and behavioral change to improve the health of girls and women. She has 15 years of research, clinical and programmatic experience in adolescent sexual and reproductive health, HIV, and maternal and child health in Sub Saharan Africa, South Asia, US, and Europe. She is the Co-Founder and Director of Programs at YLabs.

She specializes in applying human-centered design, robust data and her public health expertise to develop seamless strategies that improve health and economic opportunity for young people globally. At YLabs and with, she has worked alongside partners like Marie Stopes International, Pathfinder and Population Services International to design, evaluate and scale innovations to improve youth-access to SRH and HIV services in Sub Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Rebecca holds a BSc in International Health, a MSc in Pediatrics and Child Health from University College London, a MPH in Global Health from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and an MBChB Medicine from the University of Leeds. Previous research awards and fellowships include the Frank Knox Fellowship (Harvard), the National Institute for Health Research Academic Clinical Fellowship, the UK’s national Cochrane Prize for Public Health and The Lancet Student Essay Prize.

Caroline Wong

Caroline is a product designer and researcher who is passionate about healthcare and youth-centered education. At YLabs, she conducts design research to understand user needs, and co-designs products and services with youth. She has been working at the intersection of digital product design, design research, and data for the past 8 years. Caroline specializes in leveraging human-centered design to develop digital healthcare products and services. She has designed for adolescent health and education, mental health, and clinical trials in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and North America. She holds a M.S. in IT product design from University of Southern Denmark, and a B.S. in Statistics from University of British Columbia.


Trena Mukherjee

Trena Mukherjee is a DrPH candidate in Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health, and a pre-doctoral fellow in the Global HIV Implementation Science training program. She has a background in quantitative and qualitative methods, and specializes in HIV research at the intersection of criminal justice and substance use. Prior to starting a doctoral program, she was awarded a Fulbright to evaluate a hepatitis C education intervention for people who use drugs, and develop a health needs assessment for urban refugee populations in Malaysia. She has also worked as a project coordinator for several projects related to infectious disease prevention and integrative models of healthcare in Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe. She has previously collaborated with YLabs to apply human-centered design methods to engage young men in HIV self-testing in Kenya. Trena holds an MPH from the Yale School of Public Health, and a BA from Johns Hopkins University

Course Fee

Late registration discount before May 1, 2020: $1,000.00
After May 1, 2020: $1,000.00


The registration period has closed for this event.


Zoom Webinar

The Zoom link for this live webinar course will be made available to course registrants prior to the start of class.

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