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People Who Look Like Me

Co-facilitated a student studio in partnership with BCHD's Social Innovation Team (SIT) and MICA's Center for Social Design. Designed materials and research collection methods for a series Listening Tours aimed at fostering deeper conversations in communities affected by HIV. Spearheaded a shareback at the conclusion of the studio and Tours in the form of an interactive exhibit, in conjunction with the SIT's annual programming.

Design Strategy, Design Research, Product Generation, Co-facilitation/ teaching

My role

Baltimore City Health Department's Social Innovation Team

Credits/ Team
  • Becky Slogeris, Associate Director Center for Social Design at MICA 

  • Kehinde Bademosi, Director of the Social Innovation Team 

  • John Benton Denny, Social Media Lead and Event Coordinator 

  • Tysheka Smith, Community Outreach lead

The Project in detail

As part of a national grant, I worked with the Baltimore City Health Department Social Innovation Team to scope a series of Listening Tours in conjunction with a student studio hosted at MICA's Center for Social Design. The Listening Tours applied demographic data for HIV, and brought together communities affected by HIV to better understand their needs navigating HIV care and sexual wellness.

Building the Listening Tours

Working in partnership with the Lead Outreach coordinator, we determined a group of seven initial 'tours' which would meet the grant's overall demography goals. The Lead Coordinator identified facilitators within each community who would lead the discussion and do targeted outreach alongside the coordinator.

Communities in the first series:*

  • HIV and Aging

  • The Ballroom community

  • Black women in the healthcare space

  • Men of trans experience

  • Trans women and men who have sex with trans women

  • Faith-based tour

  • Same-gender loving women

*Names for each group were determined as part of the Tour and reflect the wishes of the participants as to how they wanted to be identified

To support the facilitators, I worked with the student studio to determine what questions they had for communities in order to answer their design challenge around engaging & aiding community around HIV prevention. I also met with the core SIT team to determine what measures they wanted to explore with community.

Using a combination of methods, I designed an interactive survey which would collect demography data, which the SIT team had previously applied in other meetings. I also designed a facilitation deck which would support the facilitators as they lead the conversation.

Quick look at materials used:

Dot Survey | Used at the beginning of the listening tours

Facilitation Deck | Giving to facilitators and laminated for their notes

Download PDF • 116KB

View the workbook given to facilitators to explore their relationship with HIV and explore how they wanted to approach the conversation.


Studio in partnership with MICA

As part of the work, the student studio at MICA explored what methods and interventions communities wanted from the Health Department to continue to explore HIV and STI prevention and care.

Design challenge: How might we engage & aid community around HIV prevention & care regardless of status?

Using the de-identified conversations from the Listening Tour and the four-pillar framework from the grant, the student conducted a thematic analysis and found tension points and opportunities around which to design.

Pillar 1: Talk

Tensions found in the data:

  • Many people recognize the importance of discussing sexual health but lack the space to engage in open dialogue.

  • While people believe having both resources and mentors is important to practicing sexual health and wellness, equal access to both is unbalanced across generations.

Opportunity: How might we build safe spaces for open dialogue across generations?

Pillar 2: Test

Tensions found in the data:

Testing needs to be part of a routine healthcare process, but it's not.

Opportunity: How might we normalize testing?

Pillar 3: Prevent

Tensions found in the data:

Prevention is holistic practice which emphasizes wellness, but most define it narrowly based on particular need or knowledge of methods at the time.

Opportunity: How might we encourage people to think more expansively about prevention as a tool for wellness?

Pillar 4: Care

Tensions found in the data:

Medical mistrust is a barrier for health-seeking patients, but it's often invisible or goes unnoticed.

Opportunity: How might we acknowledge mistrust barriers in communities and strengthen sexual health connection?

We shared this information back to community in an exhibit format in conjunction with the annual Baltimore in Conversation event, a storytelling event centered around people and focused on shifting perceptions of care. Throughout the exhibit, we provided moments of reflection for feedback. At the conclusion, students shared prototypes they generated from the research, namely BICx, a deeper dive on storytelling programming which would work in tandem with the existing Listening Tours.

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