Bridge the Gap: Innovation for Designing Solutions to Problems of Chronic Disabling (Dr. Michael Bailey-Van Kuren)

photo of Dr. Michael Bailey-van KurenIn the field of pediatric rehabilitation, there is a need for problem solving and the application of technology to provide practicing therapists with new solutions to improve the efficacy of therapy sessions. This proposal will implement a novel method to link problem solving resources with global health partners to address local needs.

For over 5 years, Engineering and Interactive Media Studies students have been developing low-cost therapy tools for pediatric physical therapy for children with chronic conditions such as cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy. Global estimates suggest that 3 - 14/1000 infants are affected by disabling chronic conditions each year. These conditions are challenging to manage in high-income countries, and tend to be highly neglected needs in low- and middle-income countries.

Since 2011, these capstone design projects have been integrated with an international workshop that partners with private clinics (Lincoln, UK, London, and San Francisco). Students apply design thinking processes that focus on therapist and patient needs in order to develop solutions. The prototype solutions that result from these workshops require further development which has not occurred due to time and resource constraints. As a result, the tools have not made their way back into clinics for their intended use.

This project aims to build a novel crowdsourced collaborative online design community to meet the needs of pediatric rehabilitation. The online community will gather needs and solicit solutions from the global rehabilitation community, developing a unique global community of problem solvers, linking Miami University students and their designs with the clinics that would put those designs into practice.