QUT Design Lab and HEAL (Healthcare Excellence AcceLerator)

HEAL : Healthcare Excellence AcceLerator

Project dates: 01/07/2020 - 31/12/2023


The Healthcare Excellence AcceLerator (HEAL) is a collaboration hub, co-led by the QUT Design Lab and the Healthcare Improvement Unit at Clinical Excellence Queensland. HEAL is designed to act as a bridge between the QUT design and innovation community and Queensland Health, accelerating healthcare improvement efforts across the state.

Ten QUT Design Lab members form the core HEAL team, bringing together expertise in inclusive design, participatory and co-design methodologies, design thinking and design led innovation, and the design, development and testing of health tech prototypes and therapeutic, healing environments, as well as visualisation and interaction technologies (augmented and virtual reality) for immersive experiences, training and education.

HEAL – the Healthcare Excellence AcceLerator – is designed to connect healthcare professionals across Queensland with designers, who will work together and use design approaches to transform thinking, spaces, places, processes and products, and positively transform healthcare.

The impact of the HEAL project was recognised in the prestigious 2021 Good Design Australian awards, winning twice: in the social impact and service design categories, for demonstrating tangible benefits of design thinking in positively transforming healthcare.  The HEAL team also won the 2021 QUT Vice-Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence (VCAE) in the category of Partnership and Engagement Excellence, acknowledging the collaborative real-world Research impact of this project.

If you can see a design challenge in your workplace, please contact Professor Evonne Miller (the co-director of HEAL) via email to discuss how we might be able to work together.

If you work in Queensland Health and are interested in starting a conversation about how HEAL might be able to help you solve a healthcare design problem, contact Satyan via email to discuss.

The information below outlines a little bit more about key HEAL team members, and their expertise. We look forward to connecting with you soon!

Professor Evonne Miller (Co-Director HEAL), is Professor of Design Psychology and Director of the QUT Design Lab.  Her research focuses on how to design environments – built, technical, socio-cultural and natural – that better engage and support all users, especially older people.  Evonne has over 100 peer-reviewed publications in the fields of urban design, population ageing, health and wellbeing, with her most recent book, Creating Great Places: Evidence-based urban design for health and wellbeing (Routledge, with A/Prof Deb Cushing) outlining how designers can create great places that are inclusive, sustainable, and salutogenic (health-promoting).  Evonne is a Fellow of the Australian Association of Gerontology, and has been awarded $3.5M in competitive research grant funding, including a current $1.15M National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Ideas Grant (2020-2025) exploring how to develop an inter-generational models of senior living / aged care on high school campuses and an Australian Research Council linkage grant on how to redesign aged care for the future.


Dr Satyan Chari (Co-Director, HEAL), will lead the engagement within CEQ and across the wider health system. Satyan brings a unique perspective to the Lab with his cross-disciplinary expertise in human factors engineering, participatory design, complexity science and systems thinking – coupled with a clinical background in occupational therapy and track record as a patient safety researcher. Satyan has a PhD in patient safety from Monash University, during which he researched innovative environmental design approaches to reduce inpatient falls.  Satyan is a member of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia (HFESA) and is a certified healthcare informatician (CHIA).

Associate Professor Lindy Osborne Burton was originally educated in South Africa and later moved to Australia, where she commenced working at Cox Rayner Architects in Brisbane. She quickly developed a specialisation in the design of complex public and institutional buildings—her architectural portfolio is extensive and includes over 70 building projects, including the Princess Alexandra Hospital and Logan Hospital redevelopments. Following 12 years of practice in architecture, Lindy registered as an architect and received 15 professional design awards, she then chose to pursue a full-time academic career. Now a senior lecturer in architecture at Queensland University of Technology, Lindy’s research interests centre on the design of innovative environments to support mental health, the integration of biophilic, salutogenic and eudemonic design approaches in healthcare design, and the interstitial spaces between nature, art and architecture.  Lindy supervises PhD students who are researching aspects of flexibility in healthcare and hospital design. Appointed as a board member of the Board of Architects of Queensland, Lindy is also an active member of the Australian Institute of Architects, the Australian Health Design Council, and the Australian & New Zealand Mental Health Association.


Professor Marianella Chamorro-Koc BA (PUCP, Peru), MA (OSU, U.S.A.), PhD (QUT, Australia), is Senior Lecturer at Queensland University of Technology, Australia. Marianella is driven to enhance people’s interactions with technologies for their personal health. Her research in Design for Health focuses in understanding people’s experiences of health and of healthcare. She employs co-discovery strategies, experiential knowledge mapping and user-centre design methods to work with end users and stakeholders in problem identification and solution. She brings a mix method approach to her research by collaborating with colleagues in service design, marketing, biomechanics, exercise and nutrition, and nursing in her projects. Marianella’s applied research involves the development of prototypes with digital technologies as research tools to test solutions in different health scenarios: chronic illness management (monitoring of sleep, monitoring of pain spots in wrist joints), remote rehabilitation (smart gear for mobility tracking), community programs (transformative service design for young people with disabilities). Marianella leads the QUT Design Lab Program of Designing for Health.


Dr Rafael Gomez

Dr Rafael Gomez is Study Area Coordinator for Industrial Design and has built his career both as an academic and practicing designer. He is a design researcher for QUT Design Lab and a prominent researcher in the field of emotional experience, wearable tech for medical/health, and 3D printing. His expertise includes rapid prototyping and high-end visualisation and the use and application of qualitative and longitudinal methodologies for design research. He has developed frameworks for emotional experience currently being used by global industry leading companies such as BMW to better understand peoples’ evolving emotional experience with devices, interfaces, services and systems. His current focus is on applied research with wearable technologies in the medical/health area – having recently worked on a non-invasive respiratory device for covid-19 alongside Science and Engineering and Prince Charles Hospital and a host of other projects including wearable tech to help prevent eye disease and for Parkinson Disease management. Dr Gomez is founder and head the BMW Group + QUT Design Academy.


Dr Judy Matthews is a learning and innovation specialist with extensive experience in design thinking, design-led innovation, learning, experimentation and innovation. She uses problem framing, creative insights and human-centred design to explore complex problems to generate new solutions, build collaborative relationships, inspire new ideas and design new environments and experiences that foster a culture of innovation. As a thought leader, Judy is known for her facilitation skills, and future-focused design-science approach that inspires new ways of thinking and doing and encourages life-long learning.  Judy is passionate about the importance of learning and innovation and has designed and facilitated a wide range of national and international programs at post-secondary and graduate levels and in community settings. She is exploring the possibilities of online design thinking learning and facilitation.



Associate Professor Janice Rieger BID, MA, Grad Dip CPVC, GCAP, PhD, is Senior Lecturer at Queensland University of Technology, Australia. Janice creates cultures of inclusion in teaching universal design, for accessible housing and ageing in place, in curating inclusive exhibitions, or co-designing inclusive policies, programs and artefacts. Her award-winning inclusive research and teaching has led to code, policy, curriculum and legislative changes in Australia, North America and Europe and she is an internationally recognised scholar in Design for All (DfA). Dr Rieger leads local, national and international teams across diverse sectors to design for all abilities — with universities to create inclusive programs, policies and curriculum; hospitals to create therapeutic environments; federal and local governments to complete access audits and develop inclusive policies for health and well-being; non-profit organisations to create healthy living environments; and cultural organisations to create inclusive opportunities for people with disabilities. Over the past 25 years, Dr Rieger has worked with organisations globally, establishing creative methodologies and practices to create inclusion, well-being and design for all.


Professor Lisa Scharoun is currently the Head of School – School of Design at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. A multi-award winning teacher, researcher and designer with expertise in Visual Communications and Cross-cultural design, Lisa specialises in Cross-cultural applications of design. She has recently completed a book on this topic entitled Cross-cultural Design for Healthy Ageing (Intellect 2020) which reviews a number of processes for creating innovative design solutions in different cultural contexts. As well as managing the School of Design, Professor Scharoun continues to practice as a designer and has won many national and international prizes for her work. She was a top 10 finalist in the Bill and Melinda Gates “Records for Life” competition and was awarded the “Ease of Adding Information” prize for a design solution created to assist mothers in developing countries to remember to vaccinate their children. She can contribute to the creation and facilitation of co-design workshops, visualisations and system mappings, creation of graphic solutions for health care information and management as well as creating inclusive identity and signage systems.



Dr Jen Seevinck is a Senior Lecturer in Interaction Design and Visual Communication, and a Chief Investigator at the QUT Design Lab. She researches, designs and builds computer-based systems, data visualisations such as infographics, and conducts workshops with communities. Jen has created apps for mobile devices, virtual reality training simulators to teach medical skills, art works that engage people with Cerebral Palsy in physical movement, and workshops for school children using bespoke origami and iPad apps. She is passionate about collaborating with specialists and community to come up with new solutions that haven’t been thought of before – and deliver them! Jen has worked with specialists and the community – from health care workers, teachers, engineers through people with a disability and school children; her work has won international awards and she has published widely on innovative design research.


Dr Manuela Taboada BSc Computer Science (UNIFACS, Brazil), BA Visual Design (UFBA, Brazil), PhD (QUT Australia) is a Senior Lecturer at Queensland University of Technology, Australia. Manuela uses bespoke collaborative design processes as a tool for facilitating innovation and triggering systemic change. She combines systems thinking (complex emergency) with decolonial design theories and concepts of deep ecology to establish the framework for her co-design methods. Through her work, participants—designers and non-designers—are able to share and combine their diverse sets of knowledges to create innovative interventions for systemic and behavioural change.

Over the years, Manuela has worked as a researcher and designer in Australia, Brazil, Timor-Leste and Fiji. As part of the QUT Design Lab and the QUT Centre for a Waste-Free World Manuela has led several co-design projects which delivered interventions in the areas of marine conservation, policy design, plastic waste, identity development and entrepreneurship. She is currently leading two projects on reducing plastic consumption and waste. Manuela believes that the unexpected is the most important ingredient of innovation, and it can only rise from diversity, trust, authentic conversations, and open agendas.


Dr Natalie Wright BAppScBltEnvir, GradDipIntDes, PhD (QUT, Australia) is a Senior Lecturer at Queensland University of Technology and Interior Designer with extensive commercial practice experience gained in Australia, Japan, and the United Kingdom. She is a Fellow of the Design Institute of Australia (DIA) and has performed multiple design advocacy leadership roles, including a two-year secondment to the State Library of Queensland (SLQ) as Manager of the Asia Pacific Design Library (APDL), and collaboration on its Design Minds website, which won a Good Design Australia Award in 2018.

With a considerable background in significant state/local government funded informal design-led education collaborations, Natalie’s community-engaged research explores design thinking and design-led innovation approaches in educational contexts for both students and educators at all levels, as a framework for lifelong learning and adaptivity in the twenty-first century. Her current research is exploring opportunities to scale up primary/secondary teachers’ capacity to teach creativity, innovation and enterprise through design thinking in curriculum, and the facilitation of design expertise for transformational change in diverse industries. Natalie co-leads the Design-led Learning and Practice stream of the QUT Design Lab Design for Creative and Resilient Communities Program.


Gillian Ridsdale was Project Manager, QUT-HIU Healthcare Excellence Accelerator (HEAL), QUT Design Lab, QUT in 2021. She joined QUT in 2016, and was previously Engagement Program Coordinator, Creative Industries Faculty (2016-2020).  Prior to this she was Curator of Public Programs (2008-2016) and Program Convenor and Lecturer in Museum Studies (2005-2008) at the University of Queensland. She has worked in cultural policy development for Arts Queensland and as a director, curator and conservator for museums and galleries nationally and internationally. Gillian has an MA in Cultural Policy Studies from Griffith University and a BA in Art History, Drama and Film from the University of Queensland. She has published widely on program development, learning and engagement strategy. Gillian is passionate about capability transfer between research and practice in arts and health programming, and the application of new tools and methodologies that deliver innovative healthcare outcomes for clinicians, patients and community.



Paul Blee has more than thirty years’ experience as a systems and project manager in the Queensland public sector.  He has a background in applied art and commercial design with the Queensland College of Art, has overseen project relationships and co-facilitated events between the QUT Design Lab and CEQ since the start of the relationship.  Paul project managed and grew the CEQ Improvement Exchange to over 300 healthcare project uploads.  Paul is a seasoned event manager, content creator and creative performer and brings these backgrounds to the coordination of lab activities.