News from AU
April 4, 2019

World Health Day: Designing for a Healthier World

Health clinic

This Sunday, April 7, marks the celebration of World Health Day, sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and dedicated to raising awareness of specific aspects of global health that need more engagement. Past themes have included food safety, diabetes, road safety, mental health, and infectious diseases. This year, the WHO is addressing the need for universal health coverage—protecting the sick from undue financial risk, improving access to health services, and improving outcomes.

At Autodesk, we’re also committed to the health, safety, and well-being of all people through the power of design and fabrication. Through the Autodesk Foundation we’ve partnered with many organizations to make the world a healthier place. In honor of World Health Day, take a look at a few of our different partners and consider getting involved.

MASS Design Group

MASS Design Group designs and builds structures that improve people’s health—East Africa’s first comprehensive cancer center, on-site housing for doctors in Rwanda, and a maternal waiting village in Malawi.

MASS Design Group Redemption Pediatric Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia
Rendering of a corridor in Redemption Pediatric Hospital, which Autodesk Foundation grantee MASS Design Group is constructing in Monrovia, Liberia. (Image courtesy of MASS Design Group)

Design that Matters

Design that Matters (DtM) adapts medical technology to make it more available in low-income communities. Recently, they created the Firefly, an easy-to-use, energy-efficient phototherapy device that is used to treat jaundice in infants. So far, it has been used in 19 countries to treat over 26,000 newborns.


Health-PACT is a collection of volunteers bringing healthcare to communities with limited resources. Their WHO-compliant hand sanitizer has increased proper hand hygiene among physicians by 26% and among nurses by 41%.


80% of the world’s amputees lack access to modern and affordable prosthetics. D-Rev is changing that with a stable, durable knee joint that allows a wide range of motion and costs just $80. So far, over 7,300 have been fitted with these lightweight, water-resistant ReMotion knee joints.

Young Indian man with prosthetic leg sitting with legs crossed
Vishamber Gurjar was one of the first patients to be fit with the ReMotion JaipurKnee and has been wearing it since 2008. Vishamber confirms that the JaipurKnee flexes enough to allow cross-legged seating, an important feature for India. (Image courtesy of Jacqueline del Castillo, D-Rev)

Related AU classes

Ready for some learning to complement World Health Day? Check out these AU sessions related to improving health care:

How Does VR Improve Health Care Design?

In order to create functional clinical spaces, medical professionals need to understand the layout and size of the rooms being designed. But staring at a 2D drawing often results in confusion and misunderstanding. Putting the medical professionals in a virtual world ensures the spaces are tailored to the needs of the users. Aysu Unal breaks down VR and health care design in this industry talk.

The Challenges of Designing and Building Health Care Infrastructure in Low Resource Settings

Access to health care infrastructure greatly affects health care outcomes. After the tragic 2010 earthquake in Haiti, 30 out of 49 hospitals were damaged or destroyed, and thousands of people died as a result of having no access to facilities. In this industry talk, David Walton looks at the challenges of design and construction in low- and middle-income communities, and shares what’s needed to create resilient and sustainable structures.

A Case Study: Implementing BIM 360 Ops for Arkansas Children’s Northwest Hospital

In August 2015, Arkansas Children’s Northwest Hospital was conceived. In February of 2018 this 235,000 sq. ft. building with inpatient beds, emergency care, clinical space, and diagnostic services was finished. In between? A whole lot of BIM 360. In this industry talk, Mark Mergenschroer and George Mcferron walk you through the planning, designing, constructing, and ongoing maintenance plans for this life-saving structure.