Krista Donaldson


Krista Donaldson is a Nova Scotia native, she is married and has two children. She is currently the CEO of Equalize Health, leading the development of models so medical technology is quickly brought up in market and scale. Krista has a BE in Engineering from Vanderbilt University, she has become a designer through practice over the years though. She now has an MSE (Product Design), MSME, and Ph.D. from Stanford University.

While she was at school “I loved my first first design class because how open-ended design is for solving problems. I love the creativity of design, and that designers are optimists by nature – believing problems can be solved.” As she looks back this is part of the reason that inspired her to become a designer.  When it came to her career, and a background in engineering she says, “I’ve always been amazed how things are built, so product design and engineering rather naturally became my fields of study. (If you look around, everything is designed by an engineer, designer, or architect!)” She was exposed to social justice while at Vanderbilt and contributing to the community. Her mother was a social worker and her father was a doctor, so she has had a large community thinking influence from them. When she went to Stanford for graduate school it was there that she first learned about appropriate technology movements. She read all about it in the library, and that had a major impact on what she has done till now. 

When it came to her doctoral work, she was among some of the first to focus on engineering and social entrepreneurship in economies that are less industrialized. Before ending up at Equalize Health, Krista was the economic officer at the U.S. Department of State working as an American Association for the Advancement of Science Diplomacy Fellow. Her roles in this position included guiding economic policy and also the reconstruction of Iraq’s electricity sector. “Her work there earned recognition for its impact on bilateral relations” She also worked as a design engineer at Kickstart in Nairobi, Kenya. for a brief while she also worked as a product designer at IDEO. While in Nairobi and South Africa she taught design courses at the colleges, Kenyatta University, the University of Cape Town. She also taught at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford. 

When Krista eventually landed at D-Rev in 2009 after being recruited she has been there ever since now the company is called Equalize Health. Equalize Health’s focus is impact, though the impact is sometimes hard to see, there is an idea that you can find an impact from analyzing numbers. The company uses an index system that Krista explains as,” the Progress Out of Poverty Index, an initiative of the Grameen Foundation, which has short surveys focused on country-specific needs of the poor.” Through this index, they can send the necessary Prosthetic equipment or affordable treatment for babies with jaundice. These are the areas that the company specializes in, affordable treatment for babies with jaundice, Brilliance,  and ReMotion, a prosthetic knee that is now worn by more than 5,500 amputees. With their mission to impact babies and the mothers who die in childbirth they have launched five medical innovations. Their goal is to accelerate reaching 5 million patients who would not have been reached at all by 2025 while creating an affordable health ecosystem.  She has now been recognized as one of the 50 designers that are shaping the future of the World Economic Forum as a Technological Pioneer by Fast Company. Krista has also spoken at, “TEDWoman, Clinton Global initiative, and she is an Elevate Prize winner, a Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation Entrepreneur, a Rainer Arnhold Fellow, a PopTech Social Innovation Fellow, and GLG Social Impact Fellow.”

To get to the next frontier of the impact design Krista is leading Equalize Health to, there are also things other people can do too. The largest thing Krista recommends is, “to see funders empowering grantees to take educated risks. I’d love to see much greater accountability in the funding sector, tied to transparency in impact reporting and incentivizing iteration.” These points alone could change the impact in those countries and also the impact on companies. Being able to have multi-year funding allows for product development and when it doesn’t happen, products are not able to be given to the people that need them most. When money is given to the universities for research on a problem, It is not often that there would be a product for the market or that the solution is to scale.

From researching the life and story of Krista Donaldson I found her story inspiring. She allowed her background of community thinking, which derived from her parents, to lead her way to a cause she found interesting that can help the community around the world. Not limiting herself to just being an engineer, but getting to chase what she was wanting to do most, touching the community, saving lives, and inspiring change across her field and the world. 


  1. 3. Biography: The Life and Success of Krista Donaldson | Chandler Simich. Accessed 26 Mar. 2022.
  2. Beete, Paulette. “Focusing on the Impact.”, 2014, Accessed 29 Mar. 2022.
  3. Inc, Behance. “Krista Donaldson: Designing Products That Change the World.” Adobe 99U, 2 June 2014, Accessed 29 Mar. 2022.
  4. Krista Donaldson – linkedin. (n.d.). Retrieved March 29, 2022, from Accessed 29 March. 2022
  5. Krista Donaldson – linkedin messenger. (n.d.). Retrieved March 29, 2022, from Accessed 29 March. 2022
  6. Madara, Jason. “Krista Donaldson on D-Rev and Social Impact Design – PUBLIC JOURNAL.” Public Journal, 2014, Accessed 29 Mar. 2022.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the author

Robert Leng