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Parsons’ Global Executive MS in Strategic Design and Management Fosters Innovative Business Leaders

Manuel Hernandez

For most people, the word design conjures up images of  fashion, interiors, and other material goods. For practicing physician  and assistant professor of emergency medicine Dr. Manuel Hernandez,  design is a tool for transforming healthcare services from a clinical,  operational, and physical perspective.

A healthcare designer who is the principal strategic  innovation/co-market leader for the Healthcare Practice at design firm  Kahler Slater, Hernandez hoped to expand his skill set with the aim of  developing “more creative, iterative solutions that are responsive to  the tactical and humanistic sides of leading an organization.”

To that end, he enrolled in the Global Executive MS in Strategic Design and Management (GEMS) at Parsons School of Design,  which adopts a hybrid approach to learning tailored to the needs of  working professionals. The program combines online coursework with  on-campus intensives held in New York, Paris, and Shanghai.

The program, which graduates its first student cohort this year during a public symposium at the Parsons Paris campus, educates emerging leaders seeking to take  their place at the forefront of innovation in their organizations. In 18  months, students learn to lead change and apply real-world,  21st-century best business practices that have immediate and future  impact on today’s global economy.

“The GEMS program has had a transformative impact on my professional  practice,” says Hernandez. “The skills I have gained in the GEMS program  from the coursework and from my classmates have expanded my capacity  for design thinking and its power to create positive change.”

As a GEMS student, Hernandez joins a robust and diverse network of  professionals from a variety of backgrounds, including entrepreneurs and  executives working in industries such as marketing, media, retail,  communications, new technologies, finance, and government.

At Kahler Slater, an award-winning architecture, interior design, and  environmental branding firm, Hernandez will apply the skills he has  learned to improve the health and wellness of communities by optimizing  care delivery, operations and the patient and provider experience with  the goal of empowering stakeholders and returning respect, dignity and  compassion to the entire healthcare continuum.

“Since becoming part of the Parsons community, I also see an  opportunity to lead by example, showing others in the healthcare  industry how design can be employed to solve challenges that have vexed  the healthcare industry for decades,” he adds.

The GEMS program is just one of the many ways The New School applies  design education and cross-disciplinary collaboration to improve  healthcare services. Recently Parsons Fashion Design students worked with healthwear company Care + Wear to redesign the hospital gown, while a team of MS Strategic Design and Management students created sanitary products for the Indian market (a project funded through Venture Lab).

As a healthcare designer who remains clinically active, Hernandez has  access to unique insights into the challenges faced by patients and  providers. After completing the GEMS program, Hernandez will be better  able to serve those groups by employing design methodologies to  transform clinical environments.

“The GEMS program has given all of us a clear point of view on the  many different ways we can disrupt and innovate our careers while we  strive to disrupt and innovate the industries in which we work,” says  Hernandez. “I see design as a holistic process that brings together all  of the considerations necessary to impact the consumer/patient  experience. It’s a respect for the interconnectivity of form and  function.”

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