About a year ago, George Demiris and Mark Yim began a conversation that included many of their colleagues from Penn’s School of Nursing and School of Engineering and Applied Science.
Beyond the challenges wrought by the pandemic, that moment had also highlighted the health equity and social justice struggles faced by many. “Structural racism was affecting health outcomes. So was climate change,” says Demiris, a Penn Integrates Knowledge professor with appointments in Penn Nursing and the Perelman School of Medicine. “It became pretty clear that we needed to rethink how we innovate, problem-solve, and engage people who are immediately affected by the processes we design.”
From those initial discussions came the Community Collaboratory for Co-Creation, which Demiris will co-lead with Yim, a Penn Engineering professor and director of the GRASP Lab. The first three years of the new initiative, which officially began in October, will focus on research, education, and community engagement and outreach.
Penn Today spoke with Demiris and Yim about the collaboratory’s goals and what they see for its future. Read a Q&A with them there.