University of Arizona students can work at a crossroads of biomedical engineering and product development in the specialty Health Sciences class “Device Design in the Health Sciences: Developing Tools for Health Care Solutions using Design Thinking" led by BME assistant professor Travis Sawyer. The course allows students to apply design thinking principles and gain hands-on experience developing devices to "develop a solution for a problem that is going to help others.”
“The concept of human-centered design is most important to me,” Sawyer said. “I think that gets lost on a lot of people, whether they are doing engineering or research. The whole point in the end is trying to improve people’s lives, and I try to emphasize that a lot throughout the course."
Open to undergraduate and graduate students, it teaches diverse groups of students how to use design thinking to address needs in the health care system that could be solved using devices.
“Most students are unfamiliar with the needs-finding part of the process,” Sawyer said. “They are coming up with needs, researching problems and engaging with health care professionals who have the need or are trying to fill a need. Once they work through that part of the process, the students get more comfortable and confident.”