Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine

Kaiser Permanente has long established itself as a pioneer in health care innovation. In 2020, they launched an innovative, state-of-the-art medical school in Pasadena, CA. Their mission is to provide a world-class medical education that ignites a passion for learning, a desire to serve, and an unwavering commitment to improve the health and well-being of patients and communities.


A new school

Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine (KPSOM) needed a best-in-class digital experience for its users to support this new medical school. 

One of the biggest challenges the school faced was that it didn't exist yet. There was no campus, no building, and most challenging — no graduated class, or even matriculated class. The prospective students they wanted to attract needed to be pioneers and trailblazers who are comfortable with being first.

An inspired experience

Our studio was engaged to create a digital experience that tells an intriguing story, inviting prospective students to see themselves thriving as a community of lifelong learners, compassionate healers, and courageous leaders of change.

Along with another Senior Designer, I was responsible for concepting, visual design, and accessibility compliance on the project.


The chosen path

During ideation, our team hosted a design expo showcasing 10 (!) homepage concepts for the school's main stakeholders on iPads they could peruse at their leisure. We collected valuable feedback on the designs and had a clear winner at the end of the day.


Carrying the torch

The chosen direction conveys an essence of science and wonder. The flame represents the torchbearer sentiment of the student and is created from particles that respond to the user’s movements. Scrolling down the page, the particles disperse to create a flowing path, guiding the user through a multi-media homepage story. 



According to quantitative research, the Admissions page attracts the most hits and activity for any given school. Admissions is both aspirational and transactional. It's a space where the school can wax poetic about its ideal KPSOM student and where a prospective student should feel belonging and recognition.


Accessible and welcoming

Throughout the site, the large, rounded hero images, circular type, and round icons work together to establish a friendly and relatable image of the school. The photography we chose played a large part in getting this right. Seeing as there was no school or any students to photograph, we combed through numerous stock photo sites, cherry-picking photos of people and scenarios that spoke to the school's mission.

We worked closely with KPSOM's accessibility specialist, ensuring our designs adhered to WCAG AA standards.


A lasting contribution

The KPSOM website has inspired and guided many prospective students through the process of applying to the school while educating students and educators alike about the school and its dedication to equity and innovation. The inaugural class of KPSOM represents diverse backgrounds and will provide society with a future group of doctors committed to health equity.

Project team

Christopher Smith, Creative Director
Jerllin Cheng, Lead Product Manager
Jessica Shiner, Lead UX Designer
Damien Menard-Oxman, UX Designer
Chris Gilmore, Senior Visual Designer
Molly Doran, Senior Visual Designer
John Motley, Lead Content Strategist
Emily Woo, Product Analyst

Pooja Nahata, Accessibility Evangelist