Vidisha Agarwalla is a Social Design Associate with the PROMOTE Center at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing and Center for Social Design at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore. She is currently working with a team of designers, researchers, clinicians, and public health experts in integrating design thinking into initiatives at both centers. With the PROMOTE team, she is working with nurse practitioners to support older adults with multiple chronic conditions and develop sustainable health care initiatives through research design. She equivalently supports the Center for Social Design with a variety of projects which aim to demonstrate the value of design in promoting equity and social justice. Before graduate school, she worked as a product designer with a social enterprise called BEMPU Health to develop life-saving health products aimed at giving every child a chance to live a full and healthy life, especially in low resource areas. She worked on the “KangaSling,” a wrap that enables parents to easily provide prolonged “kangaroo care” (or skin-to-skin contact) to their newborn. Her product is used in many hospitals in India and was also showcased at the World Health Assembly. She is an alumna of the MA in Social Design graduate program at MICA and holds a BDes in Product Design from the National Institute of Fashion Technology in India.
Associates are embedded into funded projects with outside partners to put the human-centered design process into practice in professional contexts, serve as mentors to current MASD students, and engage in other initiatives of the Center for Social Design.
The Social Design Associates program builds upon the success and learning of a post-graduate fellowship program launched in the Center for Social Design in 2012 with support from the Robert W. Deutsch (RWD) Foundation to keep innovative ideas and social design talent in Baltimore. From 2012-18, the RWD Fellowship provided a year-long stipend, institutional resources, and studio accommodations to 11 Fellows to continue their thesis research, implementation, and evaluation.