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For over 30 years, Dr. Amy Schwartz has used her training as a cognitive psychologist to humanize technology and has applied her expertise in Human-Centered Design across a wide range of challenges and a multitude of domains. For the last 20 years, Amy worked at IDEO, the world-renowned design and innovation firm, where she founded the design research group in the Chicago studio, served as the global design lead for the IDEO health practice, and led the design research for some of IDEO’s most innovative and successful designs including the award-winning Lifeport Kidney Transporter (which won the IDSA Design of the Decade award and is in the permanent collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art), Medtronic StealthStation surgical navigation system, Bayer Contour glucose meters, and Sherwin Williams’ ColorSnap in-store color selection system. She has worked with a wide variety of clients from startups, to industry giants like Baxter, Eli Lilly, and Ford as well as clients in the governmental and public sectors such as the Department of Health and Human Services and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Amy excels in helping clients and design teams find unmet needs with "design energy" to frame problems in new ways that inspire innovative design solutions in complex multi-stakeholder ecosystems.


Active in the Chicago innovation community as a teacher, advisor, and mentor, Amy is an Adjunct Professor at Northwestern University’s Segal Design Institute, where she lectures on design research and serves as a faculty advisor in the dual-degree MMM program (where students earn both an MBA and an M.S. in Design Innovation), as well as the Engineering, Design, and Innovation program. She serves as the Design Researcher in Residence at MATTER, the Chicago health-tech incubator, where she mentors and advises start-up teams and is a Mentor in the Chicago Innovation Mentor Network, also based at MATTER.


Amy has broad expertise in Human-Centered Design and innovation, and a particularly deep expertise in the health domain. Because she has worked closely with everyone from consumers, patients, and their families, to providers and their care teams, to pharmacists, pharmaceutical companies, and payers, she has an empathic, holistic understanding of the entire modern healthcare ecosystem and the needs, desires, fears, and real-life contexts of a multitude of stakeholders. Some current challenges in healthcare that Amy is passionate about solving include: how to bring human-centered design thinking to big, systemic health and wellness problems and how to support behavior change and adherence using new technologies. 


An engaging speaker, Amy has been invited to share her thoughts on a variety of topics including strategies for transforming healthcare and empowering patients, the power of analogy in design, and humanizing medicine to the IHI Forum, ESOMAR Global Healthcare Conference, Academy Health Annual Research Meeting, Lurie Children’s Hospital, Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine, Rush University Medical Center, and MATTER, among other venues. She has lectured on design research and behavior change and adherence at Yale, University of Michigan, and the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation.

Amy holds a PhD degree in cognitive psychology from Yale University and a BA in psychology from Columbia University.

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