The Brazilian experience in design for health: Interdisciplinary and Bioethics

BONATTI, Fernanda Alves da Silva, BONATTI, José Américo and DOS SANTOS, Maria Cecilia Loschiavo (2009). The Brazilian experience in design for health: Interdisciplinary and Bioethics. In: Undisciplined! Design Research Society Conference 2008, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK, 16-19 July 2008.


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Health design in Brazil has been characterized historically by replacing imported products with others that are locally manufactured on a small scale. The formation of interdisciplinary groups has never been submitted to specific norms, particularly at universities.

In January 2007 the Health Design Group was created at the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development, a partnership between people from the design group at the authors’ Institutions: Architecture and Urbanism School and School of Medicine.

Aiming at documenting some important experiences on the Brazilian scene to provide historical and methodological subsidies for research done by this group, a survey was conducted to find the pioneer experiences that, using the technology available at the time they were developed, paved the way for the current research.

We selected some experiments that began at the end of the 1950s lasting until the 90s, along with their researchers; among them are the Brazilian Foundation for the Development of Science Teaching (FUNBEC), the department of bioengineering of the Heart Institute (InCor) of the University of Sao Paulo (USP) Medical School, the medical equipment at Rede Sarah, and some experiences in the field of Ophthalmology.

Besides the historical documentation, the results of the Health Design Group specifically include the development of two products, a high-optical-quality magnifying glass and the innovative reading stand associated with a magnifying glass that has already been successfully tested in accordance with ethical standards by low vision patients at authors’ Institution.

Thus, the creation of the Health Design Group fosters cross-disciplinary integration of subjects such as medicine and design. Based on the previously cited experiences and looking forward to implementing new research methods at authors’ Institutions, this group is getting the first results, such as the inclusion of interdisciplinary work and the implementation of bioethics in research on the design of medical equipment.

health design; ethics; cross-disciplinary integration; bioengineering; ophthalmology; low vision; medical equipment.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
Depositing User: Ann Betterton
Date Deposited: 06 Aug 2009
Last Modified: 19 Aug 2015 15:56

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