Human Centered Design

EPI 243 Spring 2019 (2 units)
Course Director: Jan Yeager, MDes
Service Designer
Clinical Innovation Center


Human-centered design 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. Human-centered design follows a process that helps teams transform problems into solutions through structured design activities. The overarching goal of this course is to help learners develop competency in following a structured process while applying human-centered design methods and tools to solve complex problems in healthcare delivery.

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 setting 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 solution.


Course Director:

Jan Yeager, MDes
Phone: 415-514-6457

Small Group Leaders:

Courtney Lyles, PhD


Jyothi Marbin, MD

  Devika Patel, MS

This course combines online instruction with group work and experiential learning. Weekly in-person discussion sessions will be held on Thursdays from 3:00 to 4:30 PM (April 4 to June 6), except April 25 and May 2, when the session is held from 3:00 - 6:00 pm. The course is grounded in a four-phase design process. Participants will be introduced to design concepts, methods and tools via online videos and readings and then practice what they have learned each week toward evolving a solution to a health equity issue in one of four health delivery sites.

Participants will select which health equity challenge they would like to work on when they register. Participants will be placed in a 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 landscape, shape new insights and prototype and test a solution. Teams will also attend weekly in-person work-in-progress (WIP) sessions for an all-team debrief of the assignment and to work on generating deliverables such as visual models, frameworks, design principles, design concepts, prototypes and plans.

The weekly learning cycle begins on Friday (except Week 1) when online video content and other instructional material is available to view and ends with the in-person work-in-progress sessions. The activities in between vary as indicated in the schedule below. Teams are required to participate in the clinical setting activities but have flexibility to meet in person or remotely or work asynchronously to prepare for these activities.

EPI 243 Calendar


Required readings, design thinking primers, tools and templates will be posted on the course's 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 weekly assignments by the weekly work-in-progress session;
  • 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 present a poster that explains the problem to be solved, the path taken to solve the problem, the design of the solution and plan for implementation.

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 22, 2019. 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.