Let’s start way back in the beginning, when I was just a senior in high school. Waiting for college decisions to come out was an emotional rollercoaster–and I hate rollercoasters. But they say that good things come to those who wait, and Stanford sure made me wait.
At the 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 think that was why he advocated for me to be admitted.
Ultimately, I didn’t take many writing classes at Stanford. Instead, I majored in Engineering Product Design where I had a chance to study people and understand them through writing, building, and designing. Product design is based on creating through ethnography, an understanding of what humans want and need. These deep insights are then used 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 world problems.
After college, I worked for a design consulting firm called Jump Associates and dabbled in Silicon Valley health tech. 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 how to do this but I know that when there is a will, there is a way.
Some Design Terminology
…a structure that helps organize information in a way that makes it easier to solve a problem
…an understanding of a someone’s emotions and latent needs in a way that reveals opportunities to innovate and create
…an early model that tangibly explores an idea or concept
Stories From Two Doctors