Co-Founder and Executive Director
Amanda Sammann, M.D., M.P.H., received a bachelor's degree in human biology from Stanford University, a Masters in Public Health from Columbia University and a Medical Degree from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). She completed her surgical training at UCSF and her critical care fellowship at Oregon Health & Sciences University. Dr. Sammann also spent two years as the Medical Fellow and Medical Director at the Silicon Valley design firm, IDEO where she honed her design skills. Amanda has spent a lifetime trying to make things better. She’s built novel content for health websites, developed health and surgical training curriculum and worked on fixing dozens of health care systems challenges. She is also a life-long crafter who enjoys working with paper and fabric. She enjoys running, skiing, any activity that involves her husband and two sons, and taking care of patients. Dr. Sammann fell in love with surgery as a medical student at the ZSFG and has spent some of the most spectacular and rewarding days of her life at ZSFG.
Co-Founder and Research
Lara received her B.S. in neuroscience from UC San Diego and her M.P.H. in Epidemiology and Health Policy from Columbia University. Domestically, she has led the design and implementation of quality improvement programs in primary care practices across the U.S., and school wellness programs at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in Brooklyn. Globally, she has several years of experience working in the United Nations to improve mental health disparities in displaced and refugee populations. At the World Health Organization in Geneva, she developed support tools for the mhGAP program and developed country-level reports for mental disorders. At the UN Relief and Works Agency in Lebanon, she led the coordination of mental health outreach programs across Palestinian refugee camps. In her free time, Lara is a personal trainer and fitness geek in San Francisco. She is passionate about merging the worlds of health and healthcare, which she finds are often disparate across the world.
Devika received her B.S. in Engineering, Product Design from Stanford University with Honors in Education and her Masters in Community Health and Prevention Research from Stanford University School of Medicine. Prior to The Better Lab, she led design and research efforts at the global nonprofit TeachAIDS on a new health education curriculum in the United States. Her work is primarily in the space of human-centered design, engineering and research in the healthcare space. Her experience spans designing and developing an award-winning board game to facilitate social connection for adults with Autism, researching menstruation taboos in rural India, and designing sustainable toilet models for low-income communities in rural India. Outside of the world of healthcare, she practices classical Indian dance, dabbles in woodworking and metalworking, and reads nonfiction.
Medical Student and Researcher
Patrick received his B.A. in International Development Studies and Italian Studies from Brown University. He is currently a medical student in the UC Berkeley - UCSF Joint Medical Program, pursuing both an M.S. in Health and Medical Sciences and an M.D.. After college, he designed recycling programs for Oakland public schools and researched HIV/AIDS treatment in rural Zambia with the Clinton Health Access Initiative. A strengthened interest in HIV/AIDS also led to biking down the coast of California with AIDS LifeCycle and three years as an HIV test counselor at the Berkeley Free Clinic. Outside of medical school, Patrick avoids studying by serving as a spin instructor, training for triathlons, and constantly seeking out ideas for a documentary film.
Medical Student and Researcher
Jen received her B.A. in neuroscience from Pomona College. She is an M.D. candidate at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Prior to medical school, Jen worked as a client services intern at the UCSF Alliance Health Project and scribed for emergency medicine physicians at Regional Medical Center in San Jose. She was also a health services researcher at the Veterans Affairs in Palo Alto, where she helped design a clinical decision support system for managing chronic illnesses and a natural language processing platform for identifying heart failure data. Jen is passionate about improving the patient care experience and health outcomes through innovation inspired by human-centered design. When she’s not in the lab or the hospital, you can find her attempting to be the next big coffeehouse singer-songwriter, climbing/backpacking/hiking in the wilderness, and honing her photography skills.
Susan Dix Lyons
Co-Founder and Advisor
Susan is a social entrepreneur and former journalist. She is the founder of Clinica Verde, a healthcare design organization started to create a global prototype of a new model of care for families living in poverty in Nicaragua. She served as a Lecturer and Fellow at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University (d.school), where she spent the year immersed in the study and application of design thinking. She also attended the Executive Program in Social Entrepreneurship at Stanford Graduate School of Business. She has a Master’s in Art History with a focus on Architectural History and is especially interested in space and the application of evidence-based design to improve health outcomes. In2014, Susan was honored as an Unsung Hero of Compassion by the 14th Dalai Lama. She is a sometimes-contributor to the Perspective series of NPR/KQED, a media junkie, middling snowboarder, and a proud small-town Ohio girl who has lived in Bogota, Colombia,D.C., London, Chicago, and San Jose, Costa Rica –but loves no place more than the orbit of her husband and three kids.