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Focused on providing research, education, and community interaction to advance best practices in human-centered design and to address complex problems facing society.

How To Reduce Obesity Among Latino Children

How to Reduce Obesity among Latino Children, with Precision

UC San Diego and community collaborators receive $3 million grant to develop more community-centered, precision approaches to reducing adverse childhood events that lead to obesity, a nationwide problem

“Working with the Latino community, we want to create a family-based approach to improve individual and community resilience to stress and address the obesity epidemic,” said lead principal investigator Gary S. Firestein, MD, Distinguished Professor of Medicine and ACTRI director.

Blanca Meléndrez, director of the Center for Community Health at UC San Diego and a co-principal investigator on the study with Eric Hekler, PhD, Design Lab member, professor and interim associate dean for community partnerships in the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health, said that beyond determining which methods best promote resiliency and reduce obesity among children, researchers and community collaborators will seek to create interventions that can be delivered to different families that match a family’s unique circumstances and needs.
San Diego/Tijuana Is Finalist To Become A World Design Capital

San Diego/Tijuana is finalist to become a World Design Capital

San Diego Union Tribune

The San Diego/Tijuana region is a finalist to become a World Design Capital that could mean a year-long promotion of the binational region.

Winners are chosen based on how each region effectively incorporates design across their economic, technological, social, cultural, political and environmental sectors . More than just having a fancy title, winning means a year of events to promote the region, including a street festival, a one-day celebration highlighting the winner’s designs and a design conference that should bring people from around the globe.

“This is an incredibly exciting opportunity to not only showcase our bi-national region as a longstanding design and innovation powerhouse,” she wrote, “but to also shape the narrative around what it means to be a 21st century metropolis, [says Michèle Morris, President of the Design Forward Alliance and Associate Director of UCSD Design Lab]."
Mai Nguyen

Meet Mai Nguyen, UC San Diego New Director of the Design Lab

Mai Nguyen began her role as Director of The Design Lab in March of this year, but she will be making the move from her long-time home of Chapel Hill, North Carolina to San Diego this summer. Her excitement beams because, having grown up in Orange and Riverside counties, she considers herself a native Californian. “For me, this is coming home to a place that I’m very familiar with; a place that I saw grow and develop and become what it is today.” It is precisely witnessing the development of these regions over time that inspired her to pursue her graduate studies in sociology and urban planning . “I watched the Southern California landscape get dotted by more and more development and traffic--where sprawl met the wall. I also saw the lack of foresight and  planning—our policies, our practices, our design of space really created so many other problems because we didn’t think about the long-term consequences of our growth and development. So I come back to The Design Lab with that background.”
UCSD & Design Lab Students Participate In The Civic Digital Fellowship Program

UCSD & Design Lab Students participate in The Civic Digital Fellowship Program

Irene Guo, Neve Foresti, and Eric Richards, former and current UC San Diego Design Lab students, participated in the Civic Digital Fellowship Program, a ten-week program that equips students in different fields of technology (from data scientists to designers) to utilize their technical skills for public service; these students are referred to as Civic Digital Fellows. This program is the very first of its kind, and is modeled on four principles: the fellows must be compensated for their hard work through monetary gains, they tackle work with a high impact, their professional careers are developed, and finally, their community is cohort-based. 
Tricia Ngoon

Tricia Ngoon, UCSD & Design Lab PhD Graduate, Discusses “Adaptive Conceptual Guidance”

Currently, in the spotlight of Tricia Ngoon’s research and involvement with The Design Lab is her recently accepted paper, Shöwn: Adaptive Conceptual Guidance Aids Example Use in Creative Tasks, which will appear in the Designing Interactive Systems virtual conference this summer, 2021. Her research hypothesizes that providing “adaptive conceptual guidance” will improve a person’s implementation of examples within creative work, as opposed to providing a static example. Using the domain of web comics, “[researchers in the study] present concepts to people alongside examples as they work.” Ngoon adds that “It’s essentially a step towards coaching. For example, if [a person is] working on a comic you might present a concept to consider the framing or kind of the composition of the panel and then [show] examples of different types of framing and composition.” Ultimately, her research concluded that “these adaptive suggestions as a person is working in context really help with making a clear and more unique story. It kind of changes the way they look at their ideas because they are more likely to explore different [ones].” 
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