Monash University Associate Professor Leah Heiss has been named winner of the Australian Women in Design Award 2022 at the Good design Awards for her work in wearable health technologies and healthcare co-design, most recently with the World Health Organization.

The award recognizes women at the top of their field. Surprisingly, women account for less than 17% of leadership roles in the design and creative industries.

The Good Design Awards have been around for more than 60 years, celebrating the best new products and services that provide excellence in architectural design, engineering, fashion, digital and communication design, as well as recognizing new and emerging areas of design, including design strategy, design with social impact, design research and up-and-coming design talent.

Assoc Prof Heiss says she was honored to receive an award that aims to address gender inequality in the design industry.

“I am passionate about using my design skills for the biggest challenges we face as citizens, especially around equality and access to good healthcare,” she said.

“Design can give people power and freedom of choice, a voice and choice in how products and systems are made, how they look and feel and how they work.”

Assoc Prof Heiss is currently working to redesign Australia’s healthcare experience in the Future hospital Future health Initiative.

She works with the World Health Organization to improve the acceptance and implementation of WHO guidelines, especially in developing countries. Its wearable health technologies include a jewel-like hearing aid, jewelry to deliver insulin, heart monitoring jewelry, swallowable devices to detect disease, and emergency jewelry for times of medical crisis.

Her design work has already received six Australian Good Design Awards, including the 2018 Good Design Award of the Year, and is included in the heritage collections of Museums Victoria and Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum.

In her role as the Eva and Marc Besen International Research Chair in Design of Monash University, Heiss strengthens design capabilities in interdisciplinary projects within the university, both nationally and internationally.

Professor Shane Murray, Dean of Monash Art, Design and Architecture, said the award is a wonderful recognition of Heiss’ leadership.

“Leah’s work is a testament to our faculty’s vision to respond to the major challenges facing the world today, leading major projects that unite industry and technology through design research,” he said.

“Her experience and work developing innovative health design solutions for devices, services and experiences will continue to increase our impact through design.”

Also among the winners was home independence platform, Mable, which won the Digital Design category for its Mable Last Minute innovation, which helps find help quickly with short-term support.

Australian medtech startup AdvanCell Isotope’s revolutionary cancer treatment, the AdvanCell Isotopes 212Pb Generator, the world’s first alpha-isotope bank-sized generator, hit the highest gong, called the Australian Good Design Award of the Year for 2022.

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