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An Unexpected Path of An Industrial Engineer

DR. YAMILE JACKSON, Founder & CEO of Nurtured by Design, Inc.
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Yamile Jackson and her husband Larry welcomed their baby Zachary 12 weeks prematurely in 2001. Zach weighed less than 2-pounds and 3 weeks after he was born he survived the deluge of Tropical Storm Allison that left Zach’s hospital and life-support equipment without power. The Jacksons and hospital staff kept baby Zach alive “by touch” for 9 hours until he was evacuated. Yamile promised Zachary that his pain and struggle to survive were not going to be in vain. By designing tools that helped with the emotional and physical support needed for her baby to reach quiet sleep; she helped his brain and body develop and he now lives a “normal” life.

With the instinct and love of a mother and the brain of a PhD, Yamile created a line of products ergonomically designed to humanize the care of newborns in any hospital unit and at home to implement evidence-based care, to help keep the babies safe from accidental falls, provide the best possible development, decrease the cost of care, improve healthcare outcomes, and improve patient/family/staff satisfaction. Yamile explains how she breaks ground with a new application of ergonomics and human factors engineering for mother and child, all on behalf of Zachary!


Yamile C. Jackson, PhD, PE, PMP (BSIE 1991, MSIE 1994, PhD 2000) was born and raised in Colombia and is the founder and CEO of Nurtured by Design. She invented The Zaky and Kangaroo Zak that help provide developmental care and patient safety to family. She worked in the engineering and construction for Fluor Corporation and in the oil and gas industry for over a decade.  For her designs, she has won over 20 awards including “Top 20 Innovator of the year award" by NBC Latino (2012) and Innovator/Entrepreneur of the Year by the Alumni Cullen College of Engineering U of Houston (2017). Domestic and International Media have covered her work, and Zachary’s story of survival was the inspiration of TNT movie “14 hours”.