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R + B Global Design Strategy For Cancer Patient Education Materials
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Carlos Cardenas, MDes DDes

Vice President, THE MEME



Dr. Franklin Huang

Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Co-Founder and Co-President Global Oncology



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Session Description:


Design for Social Impact is a growing field of design practice, research and education focused on the application of design skills, tools, and methods to contribute in the solution of the most pressing social issues of our time. The growing complexity and urgency of the challenges we face today as members of a global society demands an increasingly collaborative, strategic and multidisciplinary approach.

Cancer care providers at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) in Blantyre, Malawi identified a need for educational materials for their low-literate patient population. QEHC approached Global Oncology (GO), –a non-profit whose mission is to bring the best in cancer care to underserved patients around the world–, and in partnership with THE MEME, –a Cambridge-based strategic design consultancy–, they initiated the development of cancer patient educational materials (PEMs) for low-literate populations. In collaboration with Partners in Health (PIH), the team has worked to adapt and implement the materials in Rwanda and Haiti.

The presentation will show case the collaborative effort in developing, designing and testing culturally appropriate patient education material for low literacy populations and will present the efforts to create a sustainable strategy to scale the project so it can be implemented in multiple locations around the world.


Carlos Cardenas
Carlos’ career has focused on the connections between technology, design and the human experience. He is currently the Vice-president of THE MEME, a strategic design consultancy focused on helping organizations discover opportunities for innovation and on developing new products and services. Clients include Samsung Electronics, LG, Microsoft, iRobot, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Boston Children’s Hospital. Carlos is also Director of the Boston chapter for Startup Grind, the largest independent startup community, actively educating, inspiring, and connecting 215,000 founders in over 200 cities.

He has been guest lecturer and panelists at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Stevens Institute of Technology, and at the IDSA’s international conferences, teaching and speaking about strategic design research, experience design, and innovation. Prior to joining THE MEME he was co-founder of CAPO design as well as UX researcher at Harvard’s Center for Design Informatics.

Carlos holds a Doctor of Design degree and a Master in Design Studies with distinction in the Digital Media concentration, both from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He also received a Graduate Diploma in Multimedia Design and a Bachelor of Architecture, both from Universidad de Los Andes – Bogota, Colombia.

Franklin Huang

Dr. Franklin Huang is an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. He is a postdoctoral scholar at the Broad Institute. He received his M.D. at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and his Ph.D. in genetics at Harvard University. He completed his residency in internal medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital followed by a fellowship in hematology and medical oncology at the Dana-Farber/Partners Cancer Care Program.

Dr. Huang is working to improve cancer treatment in underserved and understudied populations. His research focuses on prostate cancer and on the role of non-coding mutations in cancer. His recent work reporting the discovery of TERT promoter mutations was published in Science magazine.

Dr. Huang has also been working in global health for over ten years and along with Ami Bhatt, is the co-founder and co-director of Global Oncology (GO), a volunteer non-profit organization dedicated to improving cancer care and research in resource-constrained settings.

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10/7/2018 » 10/9/2018
dmi: Design Leadership Conference

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