Human-Centered Design

EPI 243 Spring 2020 (2 units)
Course Director: Jan Yeager, MDes
Service Designer
Clinical Innovation Center


Human-centered design (HCD) is rooted in a deep understanding of the needs and motivations of people—in healthcare this includes patients, caregivers, parents, practice managers, anyone living, working or experiencing care delivery in a given context and what limitations they face, or goals they seek to achieve or what’s important to them. HCD follows a process that helps teams transform problems into solutions through structured design activities.

The goal of this course is to help learners develop:

  • Foundational knowledge of human-centered design;
  • Competency in following a structured process while applying human-centered design methods and tools to solve complex problems in healthcare delivery; and
  • Recognition of human factors/patient empathy in quality improvement initiatives

At the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Describe the phases of the design process and purpose of design activities within each phase;
  • Plan and conduct generative research to understand the human and system factors of a problem;
  • Engage with care delivery settings and stakeholders;
  • Demonstrate how to apply analytic frameworks and methods to examine and interpret generative research data;
  • Demonstrate ability to re-frame a problem;
  • Effectively collaborate with other learners to generate insights, design principles and solution ideas;
  • Demonstrate basic skill in communicating ideas through visual means;
  • Develop and test a low fidelity prototype, gather feedback on effectiveness and refine based on gaps; and
  • Create a plan for operationalizing solutions.


Course Director:

Jan Yeager, MDes
Phone: 415-514-6457

Small Group Leaders:

Devika Patel, MS


Luke Emerdello, NP, MEd


Course participants will select which care delivery challenge they would like to work on when they initially enroll in the course. Course participants will be placed on a “design team” based on their chosen design challenge/clinical setting and complete weekly design activities together. A key feature of this learning experience is collaboration through group work, harnessing different points of view to collectively explore the problem, shape new insights, prototype and test a solution.

The weekly learning cycle begins on Friday by viewing online lectures and other learning material and ends with a Design Lab on Thursdays.

Lectures and accompanying materials: These are available online to view on one's own. They cover design concepts, methods, and tools.

In-person Design Lab: Thursdays 3:00 to 4:30 PM on April 4 to June 6. The lab will extend to 6:00 PM on April 25 and May 2. Design teams will work on generating deliverables including visual models, frameworks, design principles, design concepts, prototypes and plans.

Clinical setting activities: Design teams will interface with their respective clinical setting for stakeholder interviews, observation, prototype testing, etc. throughout the course of the quarter. These activities will take place in the field at the clinical setting at times and for durations mutually agreed upon between the design teams and the clinical stakeholders.

All activities are indicated on the course schedule.


Supplemental readings, tools and templates will be posted on the course online syllabus.


Evaluation of student performance will be based on successful completion of assignments and participation in team activities. To pass the course, learners must:

  • Complete assignments by the weekly design lab session;
  • Actively participate in design activities;
  • Produce tangible outputs related to the assignments or work-in-progress (examples include completed templates, stakeholder interview questions, synthesis frameworks, prototypes) that represent their knowledge/skill in applying design methods; and
  • Produce and deliver a presentation that explains your project and process used to arrive at your design.

Learners who do not complete weekly assignments and do not provide required outputs in more than two weeks will have the option of auditing or dropping the course.

UCSF Graduate Division Policy on Disabilities


To apply for this course, please fill out and submit the application below. The deadline for application is March 20, 2020. Only one application needs to be completed for all courses desired during the quarter.

The application is best completed using the latest version of Firefox, Chrome or Safari.