Duke Design Health Fellows Program (2019-2020)


The Duke University Design Health Fellows Program is an interdisciplinary, patient-focused program that discovers pressing needs in healthcare and assembles teams from across engineering, business, medicine and other disciplines to create solutions. The program provides an immersive learning experience to undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate fellows who actively identify, validate, prioritize and solve problems that have an impact on human health.

At its foundation, the program seeks to educate students in innovation through immersion and project-based learning. It also aspires to serve as a source of identified needs and intellectual property that feeds into other design and entrepreneurship activities at Duke and beyond. The program is also a laboratory for pedagogical research innovation, contributing to the development of best practices in design education.

Project Description

This project will be implemented in three sequential phases of identification, invention and implementation.

Through a partnership with the Duke Heart Center, teams of fellows will be immersed in a clinical environment and use structured ethnography tools to collect unmet patient needs (identification phase). These needs will then be analyzed and screened using market analyses, intellectual property assessments and other tools before transitioning to concept generation.

In the second half of the program, hundreds of concepts will be generated, screened and prototyped to produce a strong product (invention phase). The team will then develop business, regulatory, reimbursement, clinical and manufacturing plans to implement the product (implementation phase).

This project will give fellows a world-class education in medical innovation, mentorship from industry experts and a polished product and business model that they can choose to take to market.

Anticipated Outputs

Clinical ethnographic data and needs assessments; product prototypes; manufacturing, business and clinical implementation plans for innovate healthcare tools and products


Fall 2019 – Spring 2020

  • Fall 2019: Begin team meetings; begin clinical work and ethnographic assessments; assess data collected for top needs and begin considering solutions
  • Spring 2020: Assess and refine product/tool concepts; begin technical review for top concepts; develop and refine business plans and product pitches; submit projects to business plan competitions; begin grant proposal development; refine and share final presentations

This Team in the News

COVID-19 Engineering Response Team Assembles from Every Corner of Duke

Meet the Winners of the 2020 Bass Connections Student Research Awards


Image: Courtesy of Duke Heart Center Twitter account

Courtesy of Duke Heart Center Twitter account.

Team Leaders

  • Paul Fearis, Pratt School of Engineering-Biomedical Engineering
  • Joseph Knight, Pratt School of Engineering
  • Anne-Maria Makhulu, Arts & Sciences-Cultural Anthropology
  • Manesh Patel, School of Medicine-Medicine: Cardiology
  • Eric Richardson, Pratt School of Engineering-Biomedical Engineering

/graduate Team Members

  • Syed Adil, Medicine MD Third Year
  • Yaas Bigdeli, Electrical/Computer Engg-PHD
  • Pratik Bokadia, Master of Egr Biomedical Egr
  • Connor Davis, Biomedical Engineering-MS
  • Anna Diane, Nursing-PHD
  • Pratik Doshi, Medicine MD Third Year
  • Morgan Kennedy, Bachelors of Science - Nursing
  • Mariel Lambrukos, Business Administration-MBA, Health Sector Management
  • Michael Lebhar, Medicine MD Third Year
  • Wei-Hsien Lee, Biomedical Engineering-MS
  • Jianqiao Liu, Biomedical Engineering-MS
  • Kanishka Patel, Biomedical Engineering-MS
  • Jigar Patel
  • Kevin Rosenthal, Mech Engg/Materials Sci-MS
  • Zohaib Shaikh, Medicine MD Third Year
  • Shikha Sharma, Biomedical Engineering-PHD
  • Robert Stern, Bachelors of Science - Nursing
  • Mahsa Taskindoust, Medicine MD Third Year
  • Jacqueline Vaughn, Nursing-PHD
  • Kyle Wolpert, Business Administration-MBA, Health Sector Management
  • Shujin Zhong, Biomedical Engineering-MS

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Divya Chowbey, Biomedical Engineering (BSE), Computer Science (AB2)
  • Vignesh Gopalan, Interdept CompSci/VMS (BS)
  • Rishika Gundi, Biomedical Engineering (BSE), Electrical & Cmputr Egr (BSE2)
  • Jay Gupta, Biomedical Engineering (BSE), Electrical & Cmputr Egr (BSE2)
  • Anthony-Fayez Haddad, Biomedical Engineering (BSE)
  • Lillian Hiser, Biomedical Engineering (BSE)
  • Bingxuan Ho, Biology (BS), Chemistry (AB2)
  • Anshu Jonnalagadda, Neuroscience (BS)
  • Varun Nukala, Neuroscience (BS)
  • Kevin Tian, Computer Science (AB)
  • Benjamin Wesorick, Biomedical Engineering (BSE)
  • Kelly Yang, Biology (BS), Political Science (AB2)
  • Yichun Zhou, Biomedical Engineering (BSE), Chemistry (AB2)

/yfaculty/staff Team Members

  • Ravi Bellamkonda, Pratt School of Engineering-Biomedical Engineering
  • Ashutosh Chilkoti, Pratt School of Engineering-Biomedical Engineering
  • Konstantinos Economopoulos, School of Medicine-Surgery
  • Jon Fjeld, Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Kenneth Gall, Pratt School of Engineering-Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science
  • Allan Kirk, School of Medicine-Surgery
  • Eric Peterson, School of Medicine-Medicine: Cardiology
  • Alejandro Pino, School of Medicine-Medicine: General Internal Medicine