Years ago, I was sitting at my desk waiting for college decisions to come out. It was an emotional rollercoaster–and I hate rollercoasters (what are the safety specs on those things anyways?!). Well, they say that good things come to those who wait, and Stanford sure made me wait.
At the new-admit welcome party, the admissions dean told me he was touched by my personal statement, which made him think about life in a different way. He hoped I would take up writing and write a novel one day.
I didn’t take many writing classes at Stanford, but I did major in Engineering Product Design where I had a chance to study people and understand them through writing. I chose Engineering Product Design because liked the idea of using ethnography, an understanding of what humans want and need, to design human-centered products and systems. I spent my undergraduate years at the Stanford d.school learning the design process and working on real problems.
After college, I worked for a design consulting firm called Jump Associates and dabbled in health tech a la Silicon Valley. I never thought I would go into medicine (though I briefly considered dental school), and in fact, I was blatantly against becoming a doctor. I simply didn’t want to practice in a system that was so broken.
However, after a few personal experiences where I was forced to navigate the medical system myself, I realized that healthcare could benefit from the type of thinking that I had been taught at Stanford. I went to medical school with the intent of applying design to medicine. I’m still trying to figure out exactly how to do this, and I’m not sure if they are two silos (health vs design) or if these two things are interconnected (health x design). What do you think?
A design framework is a structure that helps organize information in a way that makes it easier to solve a problem. I’ve collected my thoughts and ideas for medicine in hopes that they can someday, somehow be used practically. Sometimes, my husband, who works in corporate strategy and investments within healthcare, throws in his ideas too. We are always looking to learn from different perspectives.
As a doctor, I’ve been privileged enough to share countless, enlightening experiences with my patients. Some moments are heart wrenching and many are downright aggravating. I’ve often though that, if I could just share what was happening, things would have to change. These are some of the moments that I’ve written about.
In engineering and design school, we kept a portfolio of our work to share with prospective employers. I’ve applied this same concept to my current career and collected my work. If you have similar interests or other just find my ideas interesting, I’d love to connect.