Research Team


Executive Director

Dr. Upali Nanda is a published author, speaker and researcher with extensive experience in designing, spearheading and implementing research projects in design practice. She has a PhD from the Department of Architecture at Texas A&M University, with a certificate in Health Systems and Design. Her research focuses on the impact of design on human health and perception. She has presented her research at numerous healthcare and design conferences and has published in both architectural and medical peer-reviewed journals. In 2015 she was selected in the researcher category of the HCD 10 rankings by Healthcare Design Magazine that  honors a group of individuals and organizations that made a significant mark on the healthcare design landscape over the past year.

Prior to joining HKS Dr. Nanda was a Research Consultant for The Center for Health providing support for the Center’s research, education and advocacy initiatives. Dr. Nanda was also responsible for establishing and leading the research unit at American Art Resources, the first unit of its kind in the country. Today, Upali serves as a member of the EDAC Advisory Board, the ANFA Advisory Board, AIA-AAH committee, the editorial board for the HERD journal, and the editorial board for the Journal of Hospital Administration. Her doctoral work on a crossmodal approach to sensory design has been published as a book “Sensthetics”. Her research has resulted in more than a 100 publications, invited talks, and peer-reviewed conference presentations in addition to numerous web-based and in-person presentations for CEUs.


Adeleh Nejati, Ph.D., Assoc. AIA, EDAC

Dr. Adeleh Nejati is a recent Ph.D. graduate from the Center for Health Systems & Design at Texas A&M University. She did her doctoral dissertation on “Restorative Design Features for Hospital Staff Break Areas” which was recently awarded as the Best Ph.D. Research Project by the International Academy for Design and Health. She has also received the Joel Polsky Academic Achievement Award from the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) for her outstanding doctoral dissertation on design and wellbeing. After three consecutive summer internships, Adeleh has recently joined HKS Knox Advisors and CADRE as a full-time Design Researcher to focus on integrating research into practice of healthcare architecture.


Sipra Pati, MA

Sipra Pati is a Human Geographer who graduated from the University of Georgia, Athens. She provides literature, methodology, and analytical support to the research endeavors and studies conducted by HKS and CADRE. Her core area of interest is in understanding the impacts of the attributes of inhabited spaces on the psychological and behavioral health of occupants. Her graduate work examined the associations between spatial attributes of inhabited spaces and the varying conceptualization of space as a physical entity on domestic violence. Her past research includes inhabitants’ perceptions of space and employee behavior in industrial workplaces. Her work in the context of healthcare design draws on her understanding of these critical relationships.


Giyoung park, ph.d., aia, leed ap bd+c

Dr. Giyoung Park is an environmental psychologist and registered architect focused on built environment, interpersonal interaction, communication technologies and human well-being.  She holds a Ph.D. degree in Human Behavior and Design and an M.S. in Environmental Psychology from Cornell University (minors: cognitive science, city and regional planning, and hospitality planning and management); and earned an M.Arch. degree from the University of Michigan.  Her doctoral research, Eating (alone) with Face book: Millennials’ transition college, explored the interplay among physical, social and ambient environments as well as individual factors on social capital building in the digital era.  Within the same dissertation project, Giyoung also proposes an ecological framework, expanding Uri Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological model, in order to incorporate mobile communication gadgets and platforms as a new type of environment.  She has conducted both qualitative and quantitative research methods including focus groups, interviews, online ethnography, virtual environment, experiments, structured and unstructured field observations, and surveys.  While in graduate school at Cornell, Giyoung participated in Cornell Dining’s campus dining master plan and developed a time-sample method visualizing where potential customers would be located on campus.  Prior to Cornell, she practiced architecture and interior design at HOK and SmithGroup in San Francisco, CA, primarily working on aviation and healthcare projects.  


Erin peavey

Erin Peavey is trained as an architect and design researcher, and has spent her career bridging the gap between research and practice. Most recently with HOK in New York, she was a medical planner and senior researcher, working closely with clients on planning and design for a range of large- and small-scale projects.

During her time as visiting scholar, Erin will be focusing on well-being and health across market sectors. She is currently a research consultant for the Center for Health Design. Additionally, she is research chair and trustee of the Academy of Architecture for Health Foundation. Recently, she was recognized in Healthcare Design’s Best Under 40 by the Academy of Architecture for Health. With multiple awards for her work, Erin possesses not only professional knowledge, but also passion for bringing together diverse perspectives to advance design. She has published widely and is active in giving back to the healthcare design community as a speaker, mentor, teacher and board member. Erin is an advocate for the power of design in improving lives.

Jessica Hedge Photo.jpg

Jessica Hedge

Jessica Hedge is a senior in the Industrial Design program in the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design at the University of Houston. Jessica believes system design is the key connection between architecture, spatial elements and product design. She explores this connectivity with a well-rounded research process, which often concludes in graphically visualized analytics. As a   part-time personal trainer, she maintains a passion for healthy living, which informs her human-centered approach as a part of the CADRE research team. Examples of her past student research explore the importance of cross-cultural design and the psychology of portion control.