Bass Connections Open

Interdisciplinary Themes

Bass Connections projects, courses and summer programs are aligned with the following themes:

Bass Connections Open supports interdisciplinary, team-based research projects and courses that fall outside the scope of the existing themes. This experimental channel is designed to identify percolating areas of interest not addressed by the current themes.

As part of Bass Connections Open, we also issue occasional special calls for proposals related to emerging issues of societal importance (otherwise known as a “pop-up” theme). Past pop-up themes have yielded research teams related to hurricane recovery and resilience (with a specific focus on the local impacts of Hurricane Florence); immigration; and the COVID-19 pandemic.


Bass Connections Open Project Teams

Airman 1st Class Trinity Packer joins members of the North Carolina National Guard receiving COVID-19 inoculations.

This project team aims to make equitable vaccine uptake in Durham County a reality by increasing health equity and equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccination resources, including vaccine information and distribution, and improving the responsiveness of the local health system at the community... Read more about Bridging the Health Equity Gap for COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake in Durham (2021-2022) »

Donna Tuccero, MD, demonstrates an infant exam during a CenteringPregnancy® prenatal care session.

This project team will expand on a pilot study to adapt a group prenatal care model traditionally used as an outpatient service, to an inpatient antepartum service Read more about Centering Pregnancy: Establishing an Inpatient Model at Duke (2021-2022) »

Duke University first-year medical students listen to a lecture about the brain in the Learning Hall of the Trent Semans

This project team will develop and implement seminars for students and faculty on trauma-engaged teaching and learning and will collect data to inform future efforts to better support trauma survivors in the classroom.  Read more about Developing Best Practices for Trauma-informed Teaching and Learning (2021-2022) »

Video still from CovIdentify website.

This project team will develop digital biomarkers associated with COVID-19, provide visualizations of these biomarkers for both participants and researchers, and recruit members of underrepresented groups through community outreach.  Read more about Developing Predictive Models for COVID-19 with Wearables Data (2021-2022) »

Health community.

Building on the work of last year’s project team, this team will research digital health communities across a variety of social media platforms to better understand their impacts on patient health. Read more about Digital Health Communities: A Hidden Resource for Shared Healing (2021-2022) »

Alicia Medina becomes the 22nd person to register to vote on September 22nd, 2020

This project team will investigate what happened in the 2020 election and use that information to make recommendations in terms of ensuring representation of all Americans in the political system moving forward. Read more about Elections in a Pandemic: Looking Back, Looking Ahead (2021-2022) »

Aerial view of downtown Durham and American Tobacco campus, with Duke Clinical Research Institute at right

This project team will examine and synthesize existing literature on challenges in community-engaged research, from both the community and university lens to improve Duke-Durham community partnerships. Read more about Equitable Community Research Partnerships (2021-2022) »

Violin players.

This project team will examine how the performing arts can produce forms of cultural citizenship, promote social integration and create ties with displaced populations. Read more about Fostering Social Integration of Displaced Populations through the Performing Arts (2021-2022) »


This project team will investigate the intersections of disability, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status and human rights among people with disabilities across North Carolina. Read more about Intersections of Race, Justice and Disability in North Carolina (2021-2022) »

Early Childhood Action Plan.

This project team will examine the intersections of structural racism, housing policy and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic to provide innovative, practical and evidence-based policy solutions to improve outcomes for young children as outlined in North Carolina’s Early Childhood Action Plan. Read more about North Carolina Early Childhood Action Plan: Evidence-based Policy Solutions (2021-2022) »

Open design.

This project team will employ an equity-centered innovation approach to co-create solutions across social sectors, thereby elevating the voices of stakeholders who have traditionally been excluded from problem-solving and decision-making processes. Read more about Open Design Studio: Participatory Solutions for Human Flourishing (2021-2022) »

The Ladies Library frontispiece.

Building on the work of previous teams, this project team will focus on expanding the network of scholars committed to supporting the work of Project Vox, a robust web resource that provides open-access, peer-reviewed guides to early modern women philosophers. Read more about Project Vox: Training a New Generation of Collaborative Scholars (2021-2022) »


This project team will examine novel approaches to genito-pelvic health by developing interventions grounded in the biopsychosocial model of pain. Read more about Promoting Psychological Adjustment and Pelvic Health Among Female Cancer Survivors (2021-2022) »


This project team will develop and implement a roadmap for goals of care conversations that ensure all patients have access to open, accurate and empathetic communication. Read more about REGAIN: Roadmap for Evaluating Goals in Advanced Illness Navigation (2021-2022) »

Image courtesy of Global Care Policy Index (GCPI)

This project team will investigate both historical and transformative models of care evaluation to build a broadly accessible resource hub for CARE (Community Access for Research and Education).  Read more about Revaluing Care in the Global Economy (2021-2022) »

Healthcare cost.

In partnership with Yale University, this project team will collect, collate and analyze newly available healthcare pricing date to characterize the variation in commercial and/or government-sponsored payments for common general surgical procedures; investigate the link between hospital and insurer... Read more about Understanding Variations in Hospital Costs in Support of Value-Based Care Decisions (2021-2022) »

Bass Connections Open Courses

Gateway Courses

EGR 101L: Engineering Design and Communication

Fall 2021
Instructor: Michael Rizk

In this course, students work in a team to learn and apply the engineering design process to solve an open-ended, client-based problem drawn from a community partner. Read more about Engineering Design and Communication »

Other Undergraduate Courses

I&E 252: Learning to Fail

Spring 2021
Instructor: Amanda Starling Gould

Most people spend their lives afraid of failing. Yet, many of the world’s most successful people failed numerous times on their paths toward success. The underlying question of this class is if failing is as antithetical to learning as we’re taught to believe. To explore this question, we will test... Read more about Learning to Fail »

I&E 290-01: Designing Ethical Tech

Fall 2021
Instructor: Aria Chernik

No technology is value-neutral. In this course, students will investigate the intersections of design, ethics and technology. The course will ask how technologies can reinforce forms of freedom and oppression; how digital innovations, such as machine learning and algorithmic automation, can... Read more about Designing Ethical Tech »

I&E 290-03: Innovation, Product and Design

Fall 2021
Instructor: Steven McClelland, Kevin Hoch and Megan Kelly Deyncourt

Through this exploratory course, students will foster a learning mindset by expanding their self-awareness and enhancing their teamwork, communication and problem-solving skills. Read more about Innovation, Product and Design »

I&E 295S-01: Arts Entrepreneurship

Spring 2021
Instructor: Douglas Green, John Supko

In this course, small teams of students from different fields will work together on an arts-based entrepreneurial project. The goal of the course is to create a business plan and launch ventures in areas of the arts. Read more about Arts Entrepreneurship »

PUBPOL 301: Political Analysis for Public Policy-making

Spring 2021
Instructor: Deondra Rose

This course aims to provide students with knowledge and skills to engage in powerful policy analysis that takes politics seriously. Read more about Political Analysis for Public Policy-making »

Undergraduate/Graduate Courses

I&E 510: Social Innovation Practicum

Spring 2021
Instructor: Matt Nash, Paul Bloom

In the Social Innovation Practicum, students learn about and support the design, development, assessment and scaling of innovative, sustainable approaches to addressing critical social and environmental problems in Durham and around the world. Read more about Social Innovation Practicum »

I&E 590-02: Open Design + Innovation

Fall 2021
Instructor: Aria Chernik

Open design is a variation of design thinking and human-centered design that applies an ethical framework to the process of understanding complex problems and developing innovative solutions. Read more about Open Design + Innovation »

Graduate Courses

NURSING 484-001: Interprofessional Care of the Critically Ill Patient across the Lifespan 

Spring 2021
Instructor: Lisa S Lewis, Margory A Molloy, Christina Rae Leonard

This course will help students design and provide holistic, evidence-based nursing care to individuals with complex health problems across the lifespan and across care settings. Students collaborate with members of the health care team to plan, implement and evaluate the care provided to... Read more about Interprofessional Care of the Critically Ill Patient across the Lifespan   »

PUBPOL 830-12: The Role of the Federal Reserve in Community Development

Spring 2021
Instructor: Pope McCorkle

This seminar will explore how the nation’s central bank works to solve critical community development challenges facing the country, including expanding the supply of affordable housing, increasing small business lending and reducing inequality, while introducing master’s students to potential... Read more about The Role of the Federal Reserve in Community Development »

PUBPOL 850: Using Human-centered Design

Spring 2021
Instructor: Tom Allin, Blythe Meyer

The course will give students a set of hard skills associated with design-thinking and also allow students to create and deliver measurable improvements for an organization in the Durham community. Read more about Using Human-centered Design »