Louisville Medicine Volume 67, Issue 10 | Page 15

INTERSECTION OF DESIGN & MEDICINE P A s a freshman at Auburn University in the late 1990s, I took an Appre- ciation of Architecture class, hop- ing for a fun and engaging time to counter the rigors of our pre-med curriculum. Professor Stephanie Bothwell challenged our class, not on memorizing and identifying architectural styles or historical points, but on understanding design and the effects of good and bad design on our daily lives. She challenged us to walk, counting paces, across streets in historic, walkable parts of Auburn and then contrast those streets with walks across more suburban streets on the outskirts of town. We were tasked to draw scaled cross-sections of our walks, then write about how those areas made us feel. We closely observed neighborhood function- ality, modes of transport to, from and through, and opportunities for human interaction. Furthermore, we were challenged to create better design for the things we saw as wrong in our environments. She invited us to speak passionately in class about what we valued in our built environment. The class, for me, was eye-opening, life changing, and helped me place, in more concrete terms, some of the design issues and limitations I had identified in my own sub- urban upbringing. More broadly, I began a quest to understand and appreciate design, not just in the built environment, but in all facets of life and practice. Fast forward 25 years to where I stand now, practicing medicine, and I see the benefits of good design and, sadly, too often the detri- E r, MD C A F olte K E d i R v n Da h o J OR ments and limitations of poor design in my patients’ lives. Design may not be the first skill considered in medicine, or in those who practice it; medicine is often considered a more empiric and pre- cise discipline. However, to quote author Alina Wheeler, “Design is intelligence made visible,” and design is an indelible part of our science and our art. We, as physicians, are taught to embrace this art, the “art of medicine.” Good design complements the plans we create for our patients. Good design is at the heart of the academic study we use daily in our practice. Good design enhances our treatment plans and the chances of achieving favorable outcomes. Yet, bad design hampers our success in patient care and, frankly, stands as a roadblock to the success of our patients. In this issue, we endeavor to take a brief, but varied, look at the intersection of design and medicine across time and place. We look at selections from the human interpretation of nature with the Vitruvian Man to more pressing modern-day issues of urban design and transportation, office design, and the ethos of the hallowed white coat. More broadly, we hope this issue opens up new horizons for you, our colleagues and readers, to consider the complex interplay of our physical, social and interpersonal constructs on our daily interactions with patients. I hope, much as I experienced those decades ago at Auburn, that by considering the more traditional bastions of creativity, you will enhance your own ability to construct plans for the good health of your patients, by design. Dr. Kolter is a practicing internist with Baptist Health. MARCH 2020 13