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Pediatric Healthcare Design: Practical Applications of VR, Eye-Tracking, and Biosensors

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1.0 LU|HSW
Live course date: 08/13/2024 | 02:00 PM

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Tuesday, August 13, 2024 | 2pm ET

Research shows the design of pediatric inpatient rooms significantly impacts the emotional and physiological well-being of young patients and their families. Hear findings from studies using virtual reality (VR), eye-tracking, and facial electromyography (EMG) to evaluate various design elements, including artwork, privacy features, and social support areas. These studies provide evidence-based insights into creating therapeutic environments that enhance comfort, reduce stress, and improve patient experience and satisfaction.

Learn how to apply these innovative methodologies in practical settings to improve health care outcomes. Explore the implications of these findings for architects and designers, emphasizing the role of neuroarchitecture and biofeedback in developing effective and supportive health care environments. This course is aimed at professionals who are seeking to incorporate research and technology into pediatric health care design to foster health and well-being. Presented in partnership with the Academy of Architecture for Health (AAH).

Learning Objectives


Using insights from VR, eye-tracking, and EMG studies, understand the impact of design elements such as artwork, privacy features, and social support areas on the well-being of pediatric patients and their families.


Identify design elements that enhance comfort and reduce stress in pediatric health care settings, focusing on room layout, decor, and privacy features.


Recognize the differing design preferences of younger children (ages 8–11) versus older children (ages 12–17) and their implications for health care design.


Apply evidence-based design principles to create therapeutic health care environments that support the emotional and physiological well-being of pediatric patients, integrating findings from VR and biofeedback technologies into practical applications.

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Haripriya Sathyanarayanan is a Ph.D. Candidate in Architecture (Building Science & Sustainability) with a Designated Emphasis in New Media at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research focuses on evidence-based design and enhancing the patient experience in pediatric healthcare settings. She employs an interdisciplinary approach, utilizing collaborative design processes, immersive technology, and biofeedback for patient and family engagement in design. She has contributed to DEI-focused residential energy code projects while expanding her expertise in Building Simulation & Design at the Pacific Northwest National Lab as a PhD Intern. Haripriya holds a Master of Science in Building Science and a Bachelor of Architecture. Her outstanding research efforts have been recognized with numerous awards, including the Fellowship2021 Griffin/McKahan/Zilm (GMZ) Graduate Fellowship in Health Facility Planning & Design, and the prestigious Regents Fellowship. Her commitment to sustainable and human-centered design is further demonstrated through her certifications: EDAC, LEED AP (BD+C), and WELL AP.
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Before joining UCSF, I spent 15 years as an architect on the design team side of the table. The vast majority of my experience in the architecture and construction industry has been focused on the healthcare sector, with projects ranging from medical office building tenant improvements to ground-up hospital expansions and clinical laboratory projects. I have held roles as an architect and senior project manager, consistently focusing on problem-solving through collaboration. I was drawn to the healthcare sector of architecture because of its complex nature and the need for designs to evolve along with the science and treatments in the spaces we create and support. I have always appreciated the opportunity that healthcare architecture provides to support people during acute times in their lives. Since joining UCSF in August 2022, I have enjoyed the opportunity to expand my role in delivering healthcare projects by working more closely with the organization, direct care providers, and families to understand their priorities and help deliver on their objectives through the Design & Construction team’s work supporting the Oakland campus and modernization efforts.
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Nick Faust graduated from the University of Kansas with a Master of Architecture degree in 2018 with an emphasis in Health & Wellness Design. Nick became a licensed Architect (Texas) in 2020 and holds EDAC and WELL Building certifications. Beginning in 2017, Nick has worked for Lawrence Group in their St. Louis, MO and Austin, TX offices on numerous projects ranging from clinic and laboratory renovations to grounds up expansion hospitals.

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Uma Ramanathan is a principal at Shepley Bulfinch, a Boston-based architectural firm where she has been for over 30 years. As the leader in pediatric healthcare, she has led projects for Boston Children’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Michigan, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, and Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo. Her ability to work effectively with medical staff and administrators has been invaluable, earning her the 2018 BSA Women in Design Award of Excellence and the 2024 Change Maker Award from the Construction Institute. Uma specializes in programming, planning, and conceptualizing facility needs, addressing complex issues in healthcare operations. Her notable contributions include the Main South Building and the Hale Family Building at Boston Children’s Hospital, which helped maintain its top ranking nationally. She focuses on creating operational flows that improve throughput, patient comfort, and caregiver efficiency, ensuring that design engenders goodwill and participation among all stakeholders. Her dedication to the field is reflected in her roles on the Alumni Board at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, the BSA’s Healthcare Facilities Committee, and as a Board member for the Franciscan Children’s Hospital. Uma also serves as a guest lecturer at the Boston University School of Public Health and enjoys volunteering as a Design Advisor for several temples in New England.