Architecture Researcher and Alumna Celebrated Among Healthcare Design Magazine’s 2020 Industry All-Stars

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Two of this year’s Healthcare Design Awards (HDC) honorees are School of Architecture alumni with close ties with SimTigrate Design Lab. Zorana Matić-Isautier and Lisa Lim are recognized for their achievements as designers and architects in the healthcare industry.  

Nominations opened for this year’s HCD awards in March, just as COVID-19 cases began to increase in the US. Members of healthcare communities around the world, including Matić-Isautier, began to focus their efforts on safety of the healthcare workers on the frontlines, personal protective equipment (PPE), and efforts to contain the virus. 

Matić-Isautier was awarded Researcher of the Year for her work. As a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Architecture and a graduate researcher with SimTigrate Design Lab, her research aims to bridge the gaps in design as they relate to behavioral choices and health outcomes. Looking at not only healthcare design, but her doctoral thesis is also focused on the bigger picture of design for health, exploring how design affects behavioral choices and how individuals perceive and use health-promoting resources in the Atlanta area.

Over the past several years, Matić has focused on the design of biocontainment units (BCUs), exploring ways in which design can be used to improve staff safety and patient experiences in these spaces.  

Her research on biocontainment unit design dates back to the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak. Matić-Isautier was a part of a multidisciplinary research program Prevention Epicenter of Emory and Atlanta Consortium Hospitals (PEACH)that produced several peer-reviewed journal publications. She co-authored a publication titled, “Design Strategies for Biocontainment Units to Reduce Risk During Doffing of High-level Personal Protective Equipment,” that underscores the role of design in supporting staff safety and which was published in the Journal of Clinical Infectious Diseases 

Matić-Isautier led the SimTigrate Design Lab’s 2019 collaboration with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA) in the analysis of the layout and organization of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) doffing space in biocontainment units. This research has helped to refine the design of the six BCUs that will go to the new bed tower at CHOA’s, which aims to open in 2025. 

Most recently, Matić-Isautier was the lead author of a white paper titled, “Design Strategies for Biocontainment Units: Creating Safer Environments.” The paper is translated into Mandarin, Korean, Portuguese, and Farsi and made available online, providing useful information for architects, interior designers, and facility managers– everyone who is looking at ways to create safer and more efficient BCUs.

Lisa Lim, an alumna of the Ph.D. in Architecture program and former researcher with SimTigrate Design Lab and Imagine Lab, was named HDC’s Educator of the Year.

Lim joined the Texas Tech University College of Architecture as an assistant professor in 2018, teaching graduate and undergraduate design studios and elective courses in design and health. Lim studied evidence-based design at Georgia Tech. Like Matić-Isautier, Lim studied healthy environments for people and understanding how their behaviors and feelings are impacted by physical environments. She now teaches students about this type of health-driven design.

Lim keeps close ties to SimTigrate Design Lab and contributed to “Design Strategies for Biocontainment Units: Creating Safer Environments,” along with Matić-Isautier, Benton Humphreys, Yeinn Oh, and Jennifer Dubose, which was published by Korea Institute of Healthcare Architecture in 2020

HCD recognized Lim’s accomplishments with her teaching efforts providing real-world and collaborative learning environments to the students. Her research studies healthcare facility design, its effect on teamwork, and its impact on the well-being of healthcare professionals. 

Lim also developed “Visual Power,” that “quantifies interpersonal visual relationships among users of a space, furthering analytical capabilities of the field,” and “Functional Scenario analysis approach” to analyze and evaluate healthcare settings from the users’ perspective. Using this method, researchers are able to quantify spatial features for patients, providers, and family members to improve the comparisons of design options. 

Click here to read more about the 2020 Healthcare Design Awards.


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  • Created By:cwagster3
  • Created:09/17/2020
  • Modified By:cwagster3
  • Modified:09/17/2020