Skip to Main Content

SIG Global Health



The Global Health SIG focus relates to human and planetary health and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 3  ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages and Goal 13  Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts (2017). 

Health is a fundamental human right and a key indicator of sustainable development. Poor health threatens the rights of children to education, limits economic opportunities for men and women and increases poverty within communities and countries around the world.

In this SIG we perceive Global Health and Planetary health together. Global Health is concerned with the health of populations worldwide as opposed to individuals. Therefore, it explores health issues that transcend national borders or have the potential to impact the world’s economies and political climates.

The premise of planetary health is that human well-being over the long-term depends on the well-being of the earth, including both its living and non-living systems.So, the two are closely interlinked, as the concept of planetary health is based on the comprehension that human health depends on natural systems and their proper management.

Design’s ability to engage real people and communities, understand everyday problems and implement the ‘right’ solution, not just the ‘newest technology,’ enables it to act as a bridge between other disciplines. Despite this, research into the role of design in tackling the Sustainable Development Goals is disparate and detached. As such, there is a need to understand the role of design and promote a more cohesive strategy to tackle the Sustainable Development Goals.

Reflecting its global health ethos, this SIG ensures that DRS members are recruited from across all continents and have an opportunity to play a key role in it. Furthermore, Global Health SIG runs international events with a focus on the Global South, where several global health challenges and opportunities exist.

The Global Health SIG aims to:

  • further develop the research area of design for human and planetary health at a global scale;
  • engage health, climate change and design researchers from the Global South in design for health; and
  • develop and foster more research collaborations in design for human and planetary health between DRS members and other researchers in the Global North and Global South.

We will recognise success when:

  • there is recognition of design research by a number of researchers in international health committees and reported case studies in The Little Book of Global Health Design*;
  • there is greater participation and an increase in the number of paper submissions at DRS and other relevant events from the Global South; and 
  • there are new research collaborations, research proposals, networks and events involving DRS members in this field.

Organising Committee (Left to Right):

Charles Ebikeme (Policy Officer in the Department of Health Policy, LSE, UK)
Leigh-Ann Hepburn (Senior Lecturer in Design Innovation, University of Sydney, Australia)
Mariluz Soto Hormazábal (Researcher and Professor at Universidad del Desarrollo, Chile)
Yonette Thomas (Founder and president of UrbanHealth360)
Blaise Nguendo Yongsi (Associate Professor of health geography and spatial epidemiology, University of Yaoundé II, Cameroon)


Dr. Emmanuel Tsekleves, ImaginationLancaster, Lancaster University, UK

Prof. Claudia de Souza Libanio, Exact and Applied Social Sciences Department at the Universidade Federal de Ciências da Saúde de Porto Alegre, Brazil


Discussion Forum