Women in tech

Health tech guru Leah Heiss named Australian women in design winner at the Good Design Awards

- September 19, 2022 2 MIN READ
Leah Heiss
Monash University Associate Professor Leah Heiss

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

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

The Good Design Awards date back more than 60 years and celebrate the best new products and services offering excellence in architectural design, engineering, fashion, digital and communication design, as well as recognising new and emerging areas of design including design strategy, social impact design, design research and up-and-coming design talent.

Assoc Prof Heiss says she was honoured to receive an award that seeks to address the gender imbalance in the design industry.

“I am passionate about bringing my design skills to the biggest challenges we face as citizens, particularly around equity and access to good healthcare,” she said.

“Design can provide power and agency to people, a voice and a choice in how products and systems are created, what they look and feel like and how they function.”

Assoc Prof Heiss is currently working on redesigning the experience of healthcare in Australia in the Future Hospital Future Health Initiative.

She is working with the World Health Organisation to improve the uptake and implementation of WHO guidelines, particularly in developing nations. Her wearable health technologies include a jewel-like hearing aid, jewellery to administer insulin, cardiac monitoring jewellery, swallowable devices to detect disease and emergency jewellery 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 features in the heritage collections of Museums Victoria and Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum.

In her role as the Monash University Eva and Marc Besen International Research Chair in Design, Heiss strengthens the design capability in interdisciplinary projects across 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 in developing innovative health design solutions across devices, services and experiences will continue to further our impact through design.”

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

Australian medtech startup AdvanCell Isotopes revolutionary cancer treatment, the AdvanCell Isotopes 212Pb Generator, the world’s first alpha isotope bench-sized generator, took out the top gong, named the Australian Good Design Award of the Year for 2022.