Valerie Fletcher has been Executive Director since 1998 of the Institute for Human Centered Design (IHCD). Fletcher writes, lectures and works internationally. She currently oversees projects ranging from the development of a new national website on accessibility and inclusive design in cultural facilities for the National Endowment for the Arts to a wide range of consultation and design services to public, and private entities in the US and globally. She created the IHCD User/Expert Lab which has over 200 people engaged in the evaluation of places, products and services. Her research focus is integrated social and environmentally sustainable solutions for multifamily housing, healthcare, culture, workplaces, and the public realm. Her research focus is integrated social and environmentally sustainable solutions for classrooms, workplaces, cultural venues and the public realm.
Fletcher’s career has been divided between design and public mental health and she is the former Deputy Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health where she oversaw the largest participatory planning process ever undertaken in a state mental health system. She was Principal of Fletcher Studio Design from 1978-1985.
She is a Special Advisor on Inclusive Design to the Open Society Institute and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs and Councilor for the International Association for Universal Design (IAUD) in Japan. She recently completed an international universal design benchmarking project for the government of Singapore and is creating a website on accessibility and universal design for the US National Endowment for the Arts. Fletcher has a master’s degree in ethics and public policy from Harvard University. The Boston Society of Architects awarded her the Women in Design award in 2005. She co-chairs the Design Industry Group of Massachusetts.