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13 Jun 2018

PhD Alumna wins (BMJ) 2018 Innovation Team of the Year Award

The award was won by the team for their design for a world-first touch-screen digital vending machine, which dispenses free HIV self-test kits at the Brighton Sauna, has received a national award.

Alumna, Dr Liliana Rodriguez, graduated with her PhD from the Design School in 2017. Dr Rodriguez took part in the collaborative project with peers from the University of Brighton and the Brighton and Sussex Medical School. The team consisted of medical and HIV experts, designers and researchers. The collaboration also featured the Martin Fisher Foundation, a Brighton charity. The team in which Liliana featured, created the winning design for the British Medical Journal (BMJ) 2018 Innovation Team of the Year Award. The awards attracted 3,500 applicants in 15 categories. They seek to recognise and celebrate the inspirational work done by doctors and their teams.

The award-winning vending machine piloted in June 2017, and has since distributed over 300 tests. The project has been highly evaluated with 95% saying they would recommend this type of testing to others.

The alumna is a services design expert from the design consultancy Díptico and affiliated to the Martin Fisher Foundation. She noted that as part of the project development, there were participatory workshops with people from the LGTB community.

The team were keen to work together and utilise their range of skills to encourage people to take tests, whilst also reducing the stigma of HIV testing.

The BMJ judges commented: “The vending machine reduces stigma, has great interaction design, and has the potential to be used much more widely—a whole new approach to testing.”

The team have published results of their project at three main HIV international conferences and in publications, and they will soon head to the Design for Health Conference in Sheffield.

Congratulations to Dr Liliana Rodriguez and the team for their achievement.