Upali Nanda assumed growing up that she’d follow in her father’s footsteps into academia. And while she may not be standing in front of a classroom, she’s still teaching others through a career devoted to research.

Soon after receiving her Ph.D., Nanda took a position at American Art Resources (Houston), where she founded the organization’s research arm.  She continued pursing those interests at her next post with The Center For Health Design, where her accomplishments include developing the evidence-based study guides for The Center’s EDAC program and several design checklists.

Today, as vice president and director of research at HKS (Houston) and the executive director of the Center for Advanced Design Research and Education, Nanda says she seeks to use research and evidence-based design to answer a host of questions in the industry—from how to design in response to the changing healthcare landscape to ongoing efforts to improve the patient experience.

“Design for uncertainty is a recurring theme right now,” says the 2014 HCD 10 Researcher honoree.

Here, Nanda shares some insight into what’s top of mind in healthcare design—as well as the one design question she’s like to put to rest forever.

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