Overview: “Stay Well… and Stay Well Informed” (Season 1, Episode 1)

Inclusive Designers Podcast
Inclusive Designers Podcast
Overview: “Stay Well... and Stay Well Informed” (Season 1, Episode 1)

• Inclusive Designers Podcast •

In the relatively new and constantly evolving field of designing for human health, there is a need for access to the most current information and resources. This Podcast provides a forum for Inclusive Designers to exchange ideas, discuss design considerations, and share solutions for the challenges they face in creating healthy environments for people living with certain human conditions.

Fact: 1-in-4 Americans have some sort of “disability”… these can include issues associated with Aging; Alzheimers; Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD); Autism; brain injuries; cognitive disabilities; paraplegia; PTSD; and visual acuity… to name just a few.

This series looks at the biological aspects of both home and office environments to discover ways to make them healthier using methods such as movement, biophilia, sound, and lighting. It tackles topics such as universal design; health and design for the homeless; and city living. In addition, it addresses matters of environmental overall health, such as the dangers of furniture off gassing; resins; and electric magnetic fields (EMFs).

The aim of this podcast is to fill the gap among designers who create environments for health and well-being, and to establish a collaborative forum for discussing these ideas. And when appropriate, some episodes may even include a little fun.

After years of thought, planning, decision-making, learning, going back to the drawing board, executing, writing, and editing… Inclusive Designers Podcast is finally here!

It’s real and you can come here at Inclusivedesigners.com or on any of your favorite ways to get podcasts: Spotify, iTunes, Stitcher, etc.

Please contact us if you have any questions, show ideas, and of course, if you would like to help fund our work.

~ Janet & Carolyn


Overview: Stay Well… and Stay Well Informed


Janet: In this series we will be discussing specific examples of design techniques that can make a positive difference for people living with certain human conditions.

Carolyn: The more a designer understands the client and or the community the more effective and respectful the design will be.

(music up, then lower)

Janet: Hi and welcome to Inclusive Designers podcast. I’m your host Janet Roche.

Carolyn: And I’m your moderator Carolyn Robbins.

Janet: Since this is the first of our series, we’d like to take a few minutes to tell you the who, what, and why of this podcast… as in who we are, what we hope this podcast will accomplish, and why we feel it’s worth a listen.

Carolyn: I think we should start with a little bit about you as our host Janet, since you are the expert in this duo.

Janet: If you must.

Carolyn: I must. So, in the beginning you were born in Brooklyn New York…

Janet: OK. We don’t have to go back that far…

Carolyn All right, so skipping forward a few years. How about, you have a Bachelor of Science and Social Work from Boston University…

Janet: Yeah,

Carolyn: … A certificate of business management from the Harvard University Extension School. You ran a business your own media production company and then you went back to school to get your master’s in Design for Human Health from the Boston Architectural College, also known as the BAC. So, tell us a little bit about what came next after that.

Janet: With two decades of experience in media and design, I wanted to do something more meaningful in my field. My graduate work in the Design for Human Health program brought together the psychological, biological, and sociological aspects of design that I am very passionate about. I specialize in designing environments for those with certain human conditions, such as aging in, autism, Alzheimer’s, cognitive disabilities, PTSD, paraplegia, just to name a few. I think my original training in social work makes me uniquely qualified to do just this.

Janet: So starting my own company, Janet Roche Designs, allowed me to combine my love of design, helping others, and business. I truly believe that evidence-based design solutions can make great improvements for many human conditions.

Carolyn: So along with your own projects, you’re also currently an adjunct instructor at the Boston Architectural College, BAC… tell me about teaching.

Janet: Well I really enjoy teaching, I enjoy the give and take between the student and the instructor. And the ideas that are formulated through conversation and the love of design. It’s sort of a little bit about what we’re trying to do here with the podcast. Currently, for example, we have been examining circadian lighting and, and health within a senior living facility located in Dedham Massachusetts, and its associated with Harvard Medical and the Institute for Aging. We are going to be currently actually going to Neocon to go and present these findings. I’m bringing both students and an additional adjunct instructor from the BAC.

Carolyn: That’s really cool. And we’ll get back to that in a second about Neocon. But as for credentials let me say that, you are allied ASID affiliate EDAC and CAP certified.

Janet:um-hmm… do you want me to explain what CAPS is?

Carolyn: Absolutely.

Janet: OK. It’s ‘Certified Aging in Place Specialist.

Carolyn: Then let’s get back to the fact that you’re also a valued speaker at conferences like the health care experience design HXD by Madpow, and also the Neocon in Chicago that you were mentioning. What’s it like to go to conferences like these.

Janet: Speaking at these conferences is such an honor and let’s just face it, it’s terrifically cool to go and speak in front of a bunch of your peers and depart information as well as receive information. And I just enjoy that process so much. And again, that’s sort of why we’re trying to do this, Inclusive Designers Podcast. As I’ve mentioned to a bunch of people I have met at these conferences that I wanted to start this particular podcast. And from the very beginning the response has been, it’s an incredible idea because there’s not a lot of information out there and maybe this is a way to start collecting that information and creating some sort of information, if you will, through podcasting.

Carolyn: The folks at the conferences have been very encouraging.

Janet: Absolutely. And you know and anybody that I’m actually meeting and I told that I was going to try to do this podcast so I really feel like it’s something that kind of needs to happen and will be something that will be worthwhile for the design community. So with this podcast, I feel like that we’re trying to collect as many designers who have the same kind of passion perhaps maybe within their own field but that they are also maybe have done something slightly unique that we haven’t examined before.

Carolyn: And so, you’re bringing in experts from the field equally interested in sharing their thoughts and experience in Inclusive Design.

Janet: Yes.

Carolyn: So, moving on from the conferences then let’s just, and the podcast and that everyone’s interested in being involved in it… Why don’t we take a step back and say just what is Inclusive Design, and why you and these other experts are excited to share these stories in this podcast forum.

Janet: Well in this series we’ll be discussing how design can make a positive impact for people living with certain conditions. like it, it really runs the gamut. Anything from autism to paraplegia and everything in between. Which also includes things like obesity and dwarfism and trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder. And it really just kind of runs the gamut. It’s about health and wellness and it’s about designers sharing that information.

Carolyn: And it seems like there’s a lot of advancements every day. Everything is kind of a new field. And discovering new things.

Janet: Correct. And I think that for us as designers we have a unique opportunity to start sharing this information and sharing it in a way that is not only using evidence-based design but is also through anecdotes that they that we as designers are able to really kind of see the impact that great design for these particular types of human conditions and how it can change lives.

Carolyn: And we’ll be talking to some people who have in a sense case studies but that are more general for these types of conditions.

Janet: Correct. The sharing and giving of information with an Inclusive Designers podcast I think would be invaluable both to the listener who might be a designer who also might be somebody who has somebody in their home who say has autism. But meanwhile though we also have somebody who is trying to age in place. Multi-generational homes end up with very unique situations and we hope to address certain things like that so that people can also create designs within say their own homes. It doesn’t have to be residential. It doesn’t have to be purely institutional but it can be in somebody’s home and so somebody might be able to recognize oh hey I have somebody who is developmentally disabled and I also have arthritis. Kind of a common, common human condition that now is something that needs to be addressed. And how do we address that within the built environment.

Carolyn: So, you brought up a good point that this is a podcast not only for other designers but maybe for obviously students coming into the field could be interested.

Janet: Yup.

Carolyn: And a third audience would be someone who within their family has or themselves and their own condition that could benefit. I guess that brings me to my role here.

Janet: Mm hmm.

Carolyn: I am here mostly to make sure the conversations make sense to both those in the know in this relatively new field and those like me who are not, because we do realize the listeners may not include the all be inclusive designers or students but folks who have an interest in specific topics such as family members…

Janet: And caregivers…

Carolyn: … And caregivers. Absolutely. So occasionally as the non-designer in the field here I’m going to pipe in with questions as needed. For example, recently we had a conversation and the term F-F-and-E popped up. And I was the first one to say OK I have no idea. So please explain what F-F-and-E meant or means. And the answer is…

Janet: Fixtures, Furniture, and Equipment.

Carolyn: Which makes perfect sense to what was being discussed. Once you know it, it makes sense. So, part of my job is to make sure that things like that are defined and clarified for all of us. And as the moderator that’s what I do.

Janet: That and make sure that I don’t curse on air.

Carolyn: That is also my job. So that seems to be a good overview of who we are, what we’re doing, and why we think this is important to make this particular podcast available to anyone with an interest in this type of work being done.

Janet: And in the upcoming episodes our forum will include inclusive design discussions on topics such as these.

Carolyn: The benefits of circadian lighting, how it affects our health and why employing certain design decisions can help improve it…

Catherine Leskowat:

“… improved light levels and full spectrum sources especially in health care is very important… if we have proper light exposure then we keep our master clock as it were like the atomic clock of our body on time and running all the other rhythms of our body healthfully. And that in turn is connected to your mental health your physical activity it even down the road has been connected to your odds of getting cancer and a lot of other illnesses. So, it’s connected to your immune system and your mental health which is connected to everything…”

Carolyn: Catherine Leskowat, of Lam Partners in Cambridge, Ma, discussing the benefits of lighting and how it affects your circadian system

Janet: Using trauma-informed design, we will discuss features being implemented in a center for children of abuse in order to reduce their stress.

Dr J Davis Harte: “There’s not just an immediate transferrable set of evidence for abuse intervention centers so I borrowed from very closely related fields… as much as possible I based all the design recommendations on evidence. And it takes a bit of time but I’m so fortunate that the team who hired me wanted to make sure that was in place and understood and appreciated from the beginning. So, having an evidence-based wellness designer at the helm was something that was a priority for them. And it was just a match made in heaven. So, I’m happy I can share their you know their successes on your podcast is fantastic.”

Janet: From our interview with Dr. J Davis Harte, of Paradigm Design, an expert on the importance of using evidence-based design when creating spaces and getting your clients on the same page.

Carolyn: How evidence-based design can help with behavioral issues using a case study of how it was used to solve a problem in a group home.

Adrienne Erdman: “When we looked at the biological, sociological and psychological factors,So that was based on the different conditions because you know that changes how you interact with the world and changes how you perceive things… we definitely spent a lot of time upfront trying to gather all of that information and then sort it out and try to see where those themes in those common points were…”

Mary Jo Cooper: “Really investing in what’s important to that person, what makes what makes it home for them and building on that… so that each room then had a very different feel… So those elements that made it theirs are really important and it did impact people’s behavior…”

Carolyn: That was Adrienne Erdman, a Principal Human Factors Engineer at Cambridge Consultants; and Mary Jo Cooper, Vice President of Long Term Support Services at BayCove Human Services, discussing the importance of examining the biological, psychological, and sociological factors when designing for the human condition and how it impacts lives

Janet: and, we have a long list of human conditions within the built environment. We want to cover and guests we are excited to talk to and their stories and experiences, we can’t wait for them to share.

Carolyn: If you have any questions or have suggestions for future topics you’d like us to cover, shoot us an email at: info@InclusiveDesigners.com.

Janet: For more information on design and research we cover, please check out our web page at: InclusiveDesigners.com

Carolyn: And in case you didn’t get it, that’s InclusiveDesigners.com We hope you enjoy our inclusive designers podcast forum.

Janet: And we look forward to your feedback too.

Carolyn: Yes we do. Thanks again for listening.

Janet: Until our next podcast episode… Stay well and stay well informed.

Thanks for listening.

Carolyn: Yes, thanks again.

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