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Human-Centered Solutions to Public Health Challenges


Summer Inst. term
Health Behavior and Society
3 credits
Academic Year:
2022 - 2023
Instruction Method:
Synchronous Online
Mon 06/13/2022 - Fri 06/17/2022
Class Times:
  • M Tu W Th F,  9:00am - 4:00pm
Auditors Allowed:
Yes, with instructor consent
Undergrads Allowed:
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Course Instructors:
  • April Monroe
  • Danielle Piccinini Black
April Monroe



Have you heard of Human-Centered Design (HCD) and/or design thinking and wondered how they can be used in Public Health? Well, this is the course for you! This course leverages lecture, discussion, case studies, and hands-on experience to teach the design thinking process. The course will equip students with the basic knowledge and skills necessary to begin identifying public health products, services, or systems that more effectively meet end-user needs and preferences.

Introduces design thinking, a transdisciplinary, human-centered, creative problem-solving approach, and its applications in public health. Focuses on engagement with a Baltimore-based organization to address a real design challenge based on a problem the organization is facing. Provides students with practice using the design thinking process to identify a product, service, or system that more effectively meets end-user needs and preferences. Includes empathetic research methods to uncover insights about the challenge and end-users’ experiences, working with stakeholders to generate a range of potential solutions, prototyping, and testing promising solutions, and identifying key considerations for implementation and scale-up. Discusses real-world case studies with HCD practitioners from the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs (CCP).

Learning Objectives:

Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Define key terms and concepts related to HCD and the design thinking process e.g. empathy, iteration, and prototyping
  2. Discuss the history of design thinking and HCD, and their application in Public Health
  3. Explain how behavioral sciences research methods can be utilized within the design thinking process
  4. Apply empathetic research methods to uncover insights about end-user experiences
  5. Describe opportunities to leverage diverse expertise in multidisciplinary teams
  6. Examine how co-creation can be used to engage end-users in identifying solutions to Public Health challenges
  7. Describe key considerations for leveraging HCD and applying design thinking to Public Health challenges
Methods of Assessment:

This course is evaluated as follows:

  • 25% Participation
  • 35% Group Presentation
  • 40% Group Project(s)

Enrollment Restriction:


Instructor Consent:

No consent required

Special Comments: