Doctor as Designer
Joyce Lee, MD, MPH


Hello! I am a PhysicianDesigner, and Researcher, and the Robert P. Kelch, MD, Research Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Michigan. 


Hello. My name is Joyce Lee.

I am a PhysicianDesigner, Researcher, and the Robert P. Kelch, MD, Research Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Michigan. 



What I Do

My design and research work in healthcare involves an extensive range projects and approaches, but the short version is:

  • I create learning health systems using the methods of clinical informatics, quality improvement, and patient-centered participatory design.

  • I study online health communities, patient innovation, and the health applications of emerging technologies.

  • My work supports the integration of the Maker Movement and DIY design into healthcare.


For the long version, you can find my CV here. If you share my passions or want to hear my thoughts on the intersection of design and healthcare innovation, please subscribe to my newsletter!



Design & the Maker Movement

How do I integrate design into my work as a physician and researcher? My approach embraces systems design using the framework of learning health systems; participatory design to support a patient-centered model of healthcare research and clinical care delivery; and metadesign to support the integration of the "Maker Movement" in healthcare. 

Learn more about the Maker Movement, a technology-focused do-it-yourself (DIY) movement that emphasizes “learning by doing” and empowers individuals to become makers or creators of physical solutions to health problems in this viewpoint. You can also watch my TEDx Detroit Talk "Participatory Design and the Making of Health", my Edge Talk for the Horizons Group of NHS England "The Maker Movement: A Model for Healthcare Transformation?", and check out our work at HealthDesignBy.Us.

 An interview by Proto Magazine

An interview by Proto Magazine




I publish academic papers and I blog about design, healthcare, and innovation. Check out my post in Fast Company Design, "Why is Health Care Design So Terrible?" and a recent post about the design of the Epipen: The Role of Metaphor in Design which was featured in a Propublica piece about design




I am a pediatric translational researcher with dual training in Pediatric Endocrinology and Pediatric Health Services Research and a Master in Public Health. I am the Robert P. Kelch Research Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Michigan Medical School and I hold a joint appointment at the UM School of Public Health. My research agenda focuses on the overarching themes of type 1 diabetes, pediatric obesity and type 2 diabetes. Link to my research page to learn more about my current projects. 




I speak at design and innovation conferences (TedX Detroit, Cusp Conference, Stanford Medicine X), healthcare/academic centers (Kaiser Permanente Care Management Institute, Brown, Vanderbilt, Harvard, Stanford), federal agencies (Food and Drug Administration) and regional, national, and international healthcare conferences (Detroit Healthcare Leaders Forum, American Diabetes Association, American Association of Diabetes Educators, Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting, World Diabetes Congress). See examples and videos of my talks here.



Social Media

I spend time as a researcher and healthcare professional on social media. I advocate for physicians and other healthcare professionals to be connected online, but I also caution providers need to be careful with these digital tools and their digital identity. 

Check out my Digital Citizenship Guide for more of my ideas on how to incorporate social media as a tool for healthcare.