Dr. Krista Donaldson is the Director of Innovation to Impact at the Byers Center for Biodesign, where her work focuses on ensuring design tools and processes are broadly equitable and accessible across domestic and global health markets. She is also one of the Stanford Biodesign leads in establishing the East Africa Biodesign Program at the University of Global Health Equity (Rwanda), the University of Rwanda, and Kenyatta University (Kenya).

Dr. Donaldson teaches in both the Stanford Biodesign and East Africa Biodesign fellowship programs, as well as co-teaches MED 232 Global Health: Scaling Health Technology Innovations in Low Resource Settings with Dr. Michele Barry and Dr. Anurag Mairal.

Prior to joining the Byers Center, she was recognized as a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer, TED speaker, and one of Fast Company’s “50 Designers Shaping the Future". Her work focuses on closing gaps in health health equity and strengthening local innovation. Over 2M patients – mostly children and young people – in 80 countries have been treated by products of which she lead the design and scaling. Dr. Donaldson also served as an Economic Officer at the U.S. Department of State where she managed part of Iraq’s reconstruction portfolio, co-founded the startup Safehub (acquired by Bitium, USA), and taught at the University of Cape Town (South Africa) and Kenyatta University.

Dr. Donaldson is a long-time member of the Stanford community, having received two master’s degrees in Product Design and Mechanical Engineering and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford, and TA-ing throughout. During her PhD, she also received the African Teaching Fellowship from the African Studies department. Since graduating, she has been a frequent lecturer in classes in the School of Engineering, Graduate School of Business, and School of Medicine.

In addition to her work at Stanford she serves on a number of boards and works with organizations to promote financing of local medtech innovation in emerging markets.

Current Role at Stanford

Director of Innovation to Impact, Byers Center for Biodesign

Education & Certifications

  • Ph.D., Stanford University, Mechanical Engineering: Engineering Design for Sustained Development in Less Industrialized Economies (2004)
  • MSME, Stanford University, Design and Applied Mechanics (1998)
  • MSE, Stanford University, Product Design (1998)
  • BE (Honors, magna cum laude), Vanderbilt University, Mechanical Engineering (1995)

Service, Volunteer and Community Work

  • Board Member, Finance & Development Committee, Bay Area Global Health Alliance

    The Bay Area Global Health Alliance connects, informs, empowers, and mobilizes more than 80 members to promoted partnerships and strengthen global health innovation, delivery, and impact.

    I serve because I'm passionate about the power of cross-sector collaborations and supporting the next generation of health innovators.



  • Advisory Board Member, Design for Good

    Design for Good brings together designers around the world with the shared goal of improving lives through human-centered design. Design for Good is a non-profit alliance of leading global organizations that directly harnesses the creative talent of thousands of designers to deliver positive impact against the UN Sustainable Development Goals, on a scale only possible through global collaboration. I serve because user-centered design is a powerful tool in creating equity and solving complex global challenges.



All Publications

  • What's Next in Design for Global Health? How Design and Global Health Must Adapt for a Preferable Future GLOBAL HEALTH-SCIENCE AND PRACTICE Chauhan, A., Donaldson, K., Santos, A., Ngigi, M. 2021; 9: S283-S294


    Integrating the practice of design with global health offers a way to ensure that all voices—from patients to policy makers—are all heard in conceiving and developing solutions that address the current misalignments and support efforts to make quality health care more affordable, accessible, and humanized for all.

    View details for DOI 10.9745/GHSP-D-21-00280

    View details for Web of Science ID 000757136600010

    View details for PubMedID 34845051

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC8628504

  • Designing for Scale: Development of the ReMotion Knee for Global Emerging Markets ANNALS OF BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING Hamner, S. R., Narayan, V. G., Donaldson, K. M. 2013; 41 (9): 1851-1859


    Amputees living in developing countries have a profound need for affordable and reliable lower limb prosthetic devices. The World Health Organization estimates there are approximately 30 million amputees living in low-income countries, with up to 95% lacking access to prosthetic devices. Effective prosthetics can significantly affect the lives of these amputees by increasing opportunity for employment and providing improvements to long-term health and well-being. However, current solutions are inadequate: state-of-the-art solutions from the US and Europe are cost-prohibitive, while low-cost devices have been challenged by poor quality and/or unreliable performance, and have yet to achieve large scale impact. The introduction of new devices is hampered by the lack of a cohesive prosthetics industry in low-income areas; the current network of low-cost prosthetic clinics is informal and loosely organized with significant disparities in geography, patient volume and demographics, device procurement, clinical and logistical infrastructure, and funding. At D-Rev (Design Revolution) we are creating the ReMotion Knee, which is an affordable polycentric prosthetic knee joint that performs on par with devices in more industrialized regions, like the US and Europe. As of September 2012, over 4200 amputees have been fitted with the initial version of the ReMotion Knee through a partnership with the JaipurFoot Organization, with an 79% compliance rate after 2 years. We are currently scaling production of the ReMotion Knee using centralized manufacturing and distribution to serve the existing clinics in low-income countries and increase the availability of devices for amputees without access to appropriate care. At D-Rev, we develop products that target these customers through economically-sustainable models and provide a measurable impact in the lives of the world's amputees.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s10439-013-0792-8

    View details for Web of Science ID 000323736800007

    View details for PubMedID 23525749

  • Phototherapy Device Effectiveness in Nigeria: Irradiance Assessment and Potential for Improvement JOURNAL OF TROPICAL PEDIATRICS Cline, B. K., Vreman, H. J., Faber, K., Lou, H., Donaldson, K. M., Amuabunosi, E., Ofovwe, G., Bhutani, V. K., Olusanya, B. O., Slusher, T. M. 2013; 59 (4): 321-325


    This study investigated the effectiveness of simple-to-implement adjustments of phototherapy devices on irradiance levels in a cross-section of Nigerian hospitals. A total of 76 phototherapy devices were evaluated in 16 hospitals while adjustments were implemented for a subset of 25 devices for which consent was obtained. The mean irradiance level was 7.6 ± 5.9 µW/cm(2)/nm for all devices prior to adjustments. The average irradiance level improved from 9.0 µW/cm(2)/nm to 27.3 µW/cm(2)/nm for the adjusted group (n = 25) compared with 6.8 ± 5.4 µW/cm(2)/nm for the unadjusted group (n = 51). Simple, inexpensive adjustments to phototherapy devices with sub-optimal irradiance levels can significantly improve their effectiveness to acceptable international standards and should be widely promoted in resource-constrained settings.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/tropej/fmt027

    View details for Web of Science ID 000322665200013

    View details for PubMedID 23666953

  • The Need to Implement Effective Phototherapy in Resource-Constrained Settings SEMINARS IN PERINATOLOGY Bhutani, V. K., Cline, B. K., Donaldson, K. M., Vreman, H. J. 2011; 35 (3): 192-197


    Phototherapy is the treatment of choice to reduce the severity of neonatal unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia regardless of its etiology. Its implementation requires a technical framework that conforms to existing evidence-based guidelines that promote its safer and effective use worldwide. Optimal use of phototherapy has been defined by specific ranges of total serum bilirubin thresholds configured to an infant's postnatal age (in hours) and potential risk for bilirubin neurotoxicity. Effective phototherapy implies its use at specific blue light wavelengths (peak emission, 450 ± 20 nm) and emission spectrum (range, 400-520 nm), preferably in a narrow bandwidth that is delivered at an irradiance of ≥30 μW/cm(2)/nm to up to 80% of an infant's body surface area. However, this is often not feasible in clinical settings with limited or constrained resources. To identify and bridge implementation barriers, we propose minimum criteria for device performance for safe and practical use of phototherapy as a prophylactic intervention to prevent severe hyperbilirubinemia.

    View details for DOI 10.1053/j.semperi.2011.02.015

    View details for Web of Science ID 000292057900014

    View details for PubMedID 21641494

  • The Future of Design for Development: Three Questions INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES & INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT Donaldson, K. 2009; 5 (4): 97-100
  • Educating Generation Net-Can US Engineering Woo and Win the Competition for Talent? JOURNAL OF ENGINEERING EDUCATION Chubin, D., Donaldson, K., Olds, B., Fleming, L. 2008; 97 (3): 245-257
  • Scaling Up: Taking the Academic Pathways of People Learning Engineering Survey (APPLES) National IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference 2008 Donaldson, K. M., Chen, H. L., Toye, G., Clark, M., Sheppard, S. D. IEEE. 2008: 1078–1083
  • Targeting undergraduate students for surveys: Lessons from the Academic Pathways of People Learning Engineering Survey (APPLES) 37th Annual Frontiers in Education Conference Donaldson, K. M., Chen, H. L., Toye, G., Sheppard, S. D. IEEE. 2007: 1116–1122
  • Special session - Academic Pathways Study: Special interactive session on findings and implications for engineering education and practice 37th Annual Frontiers in Education Conference Atman, C., Kilgore, D., Eris, O., Fleming, L., Miller, R. L., Sheppard, S. D., Smith, K., Stevens, R., Streveler, R., Amos, D. M., Bailey, T., Chachra, D., Chen, H., Donaldson, K., Geist, M., Jones, M., Korte, R., Ledbetter, S., Lichtenstein, G., Loshbaugh, H., Loucks, C., Lund, D., Matusovich, H., McCain, J., Morozov, A., Taylor, A., Turns, J., Williams, D., Yasuhara, K. IEEE. 2007: 933–935
  • Product design in less industrialized economies: constraints and opportunities in Kenya RESEARCH IN ENGINEERING DESIGN Donaldson, K. M. 2006; 17 (3): 135-155
  • Customer value chain analysis RESEARCH IN ENGINEERING DESIGN Donaldson, K. M., Ishii, K., Sheppard, S. D. 2006; 16 (4): 174-183
  • E-pals to enhance mechanics learning INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ENGINEERING EDUCATION Donaldson, K., Sheppard, S. 2003; 19 (6): 836-846
  • Modification of a methodological design tool for the developing country scenario - A case study in product definition 13th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED 01) Donaldson, K. M., Sheppard, S. D. PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERING PUBLISHING LTD. 2001: 505–512