Students Recognized by Gates Foundation for Reimagining Children’s Health Records

MICA students gain real life experience, showcasing their skill set outside of the classroom in national competitions and large-scale collaborative projects. Not only are they entering these distinguished competitions, but they are also leaving their mark with innovative, impactful work.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awarded honorable mention to a submission by Amanda Buck ’15 (Graphic Design), Nate Gulledge ’15 (Graphic Design), Sally Maier ’15 (Graphic Design), and Chen Yu ’15 (Graphic Design) in the Records for Life contest, a recent international challenge to redesign global child health records.

Representatives from organizations including the Gates Foundation, World Health Organization, and the United Nations Children’s Fund, chose their design from 300 submissions by teams from 41 countries.

The submission came in second only to the grand prize winner, by a professional design innovation firm in Chicago. The students’ submission, A Record for Life, reimagined immunization records in a portable, simplified form that allows for easy reproduction and digitization, adding scalability and redundancy in the medical data system. “MICA gave us access not only to all of the tools we needed to succeed, but also important contacts for advice along the way,” Maier said.

The students met with a team of guest advisors, including J. Douglas Storey and Manish Arora of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Islam Elsedoudi of international design firm IDEO, and MICA’s Center for Social Design Co-Director and MA in Social Design faculty member Lee Davis.

“Together we brainstormed, prototyped, and created narratives to gain a better understanding of the experiences that caregivers, health workers, and government survey-takers have with current child health records,” Buck said.

“To me, this achievement demonstrates that with vision, guts, guidance, drive, and design excellence, a small MICA team can compete on a global scale, delivering innovations that have the power to affect change,” said MICA’s MFA in Graphic Design Director Jennifer Cole Phillips, who engaged the project in her MFA Design Studio course.

While the students’ submission focused on India, it has the elements to be functional on a global scale. “Elements of our proposal may be piloted in underserved regions and could be found to truly improve the difficult work of reaching full vaccination in remote and impoverished areas. It was exciting to be part of a design project that has the potential to save lives,” Maier said.

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