AVP, Experience Research & Design (xRD)


Chicago, Illinois
Job Description

We have an opportunity to join the Ascension Studio Team as the Associate Vice President of Experience Research & Design (xRD).


Paid time off (PTO)
Various health insurance options & wellness plans
Retirement benefits including employer match plans
Long-term & short-term disability
Employee assistance programs (EAP)
Parental leave & adoption assistance
Tuition reimbursement
Ways to give back to your community

*Please note, benefits and benefits eligibility can vary by position, exclusions may apply for some roles (for example: PRN, Short-Term Option, etc.). Connect with your Talent Advisor today for additional specifics.


The Ascension Studio is seeking an Associate Vice President of Experience Research and Design (xRD) to collaborate in our work creating the future of healthcare. This role will be responsible for leading the Digital Product (UX) Design discipline as well as overseeing the team of interdisciplinary xRD Directors who lead research and design for the Studio product teams.


Ascension, one of the largest non-profit healthcare systems in the United States, has established the in-house, interdisciplinary Ascension Studio to advance its consumer experience by delivering ministry-wide products, leveraging human-centered design, data and technology.

The Experience Research and Design (xRD) team, composed of multiple research and design disciplines, uses human-centered design methods to understand the needs and motivations of those we serve, explore and evaluate potential solutions, and deliver solutions to market. This team – in deep collaboration with colleagues in product management, digital engineering, and many Ascension teams beyond the Studio – informs Ascension’s consumer experience strategy and advances Ascension’s mission and business through continuous value delivery.

Our vision is to create seamless, end-to-end healthcare and consumer experiences for those we serve through a cohesive ecosystem of well-designed, user-friendly applications, products, and services. From problem discovery to product delivery, we strive to put people at the center of everything we do.

What You Will Do

As Associate Vice President of xRD, you will lead the team of xRD Directors who, in collaboration with Product Management and Digital Engineering peers, set strategy for the key elements of the Ascension consumer digital experience and lead cross-functional teams to deliver on those strategies. In this work, you will equip and support your leaders to leverage design thinking approaches to scope and oversee exploratory discovery work to identify user needs and create holistic visions for Ascension’s future services, as well as guide their teams through detailed production design of our products and applications. You will be a leader of leaders, and together you will inspire our cross-functional design teams, our counterparts, and Ascension with the high-impact strategies and experiences delivered to market.

In addition, you will have accountability for the Digital Product Design discipline, with managerial oversight of the Director of Digital Product Design who will serve as a partner in discipline leadership. Leadership of the discipline includes hiring and staffing the team, implementing best practices, mentoring and developing team members, setting and fulfilling strategy for the discipline, and ensuring high quality UX design work. This will include a high degree of interdisciplinary and cross-functional collaboration, including partnering with your counterparts in Design Research, Service Design, and Communications Design to advance the use and value delivered by human-centered design methodology, and partnering with colleagues in Product Management and Engineering to create excellent cross-functional product team operations within a Scaled Agile (SAFe) environment.

The majority of the digital experiences created by the Studio are digital applications with complex workflow, so a deep knowledge of interaction design, visual design, usability, accessibility, and application development are critical in this role, as is experience overseeing design operations for digital product teams.


Role Summary:

Leads the team of xRD Directors responsible for setting and delivering on strategy for our digital consumer experience, and leads the Digital Product (UX) Design discipline in partnership with the Director of Digital Product Design.

Key Responsibilities

  • Lead the team of xRD Directors that serve as transdisciplinary research and design leads (“tile leads”) for each of the Studio’s strategic teams
  • Ensure quality and timeliness of strategies and quarterly plans developed by the tile leads
  • Refine and optimize strategy setting and quarterly planning processes, especially with regard to xRD’s role, in collaboration with cross-functional process leads and xRD Directors of operations
  • Lead the Digital Product Design discipline, in partnership with the Director of Digital Product Design, including hiring, staffing, team development, and design operations
  • Ensure quality of digital product design work, including accessibility, development and use of the design system, use of best practices, and remaining authentically connected to the needs and context of those we serve
  • Serve as subject matter expert on human-centered design, design thinking, and UX Design
  • Guide design activities across exploratory, evaluative, and validation phases, including but not limited to research, synthesis, ideation, co-design sessions, prototyping, usability testing, and production design
  • Inspire Studio teams and Ascension leadership through communication of experience strategies and advocating for great design within healthcare




  • Bachelor's degree required. Master's degree preferred.

Work Experience:

  • 7 years of experience required.
  • 10 years of experience preferred.
  • 5 years of leadership or management experience preferred.

Why Join Our Team

Ascension associates are key to our commitment of transforming healthcare and providing care to all, especially those most in need. Join us and help us drive impact through reimagining how we can deliver a people-centered healthcare experience and creating the solutions to do it. Explore career opportunities across our ministry locations and within our corporate headquarters.


Ascension is a leading non-profit, faith-based national health system made up of over 150,000 associates and 2,600 sites of care, including more than 140 hospitals and 40 senior living communities in 19 states.


Our Mission, Vision and Values encompass everything we do at Ascension. Every associate is empowered to give back, volunteer and make a positive impact in their community. Ascension careers are more than jobs; they are opportunities to enhance your life and the lives of the people around you.

Equal Employment Opportunity Employer

Ascension will provide equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all associates and applicants for employment regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, citizenship, gender, sexual orientation, gender identification or expression, age, disability, marital status, amnesty, genetic information, carrier status or any other legally protected status or status as a covered veteran in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws.


For further information, view the  EEO Know Your Rights (English) poster or EEO Know Your Rights (Spanish) poster.


Pay Non-Discrimination Notice


Please note that Ascension will make an offer of employment only to individuals who have applied for a position using our official application. Be on alert for possible fraudulent offers of employment. Ascension will not solicit money or banking information from applicants.


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Employment Type

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