LAF, Chicago Department of Public Health & Cook County Health Hospital System
Health and Legal Literacy Toolkit
In a medical & legal partnership across three organizations, we used human-centered design to engage two Chicago communities effected by social determinants of health—who historically haven’t had a voice at the table. Through our research, we developed a health and legal literacy toolkit.
The toolkit was designed to help improve health equity for all community members by building on community assets, addressing community needs, and sharing tools to make systems easier to navigate.
Social determinants of health are conditions in the environments in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks
Key insights from design research
Through interviews with service providers and group community meetings, we uncovered common themes:
From Service Providers (legal + health care coordinators)
“We spend a lot of time explaining and walking clients through the process of the health and legal systems to sign up for medical and public aid benefits or appeal benefits.”
From people in the community/client patients
“We're overwhelmed and don’t understand the health or public benefit systems or how to navigate it.”
“We don't know what services are available.”
Mapping The client/patient’s journey
We developed diagrams to help us understand different points of view that we heard in the interviews and community conversations.
With the community, we created asset maps to understand the great things going on and resources in East Garfield Park and Back of the Yards—two Chicago neighborhoods that are known for their violence.
This digram shows the organizations that are directly or indirectly involved with someone's health.
From research, we developed a diagram that shows the multiple points of view of a patient's healthcare needs.
Synthesizing what we heard
We sorted information from our interviews into themes, which became a content outline for what would become a literacy toolkit.
The Health and Legal literacy toolkit Prototype
A prototype for the literacy tool kit was developed and tested with service providers. One care coordinator said
“wow, this is amazing. I’ve never seen anything like this. This will make my job easier”
The tool kit includes information that fills the system knowledge gaps we uncovered in research. Topics include: health insurance, paying for healthcare, stages of signing up for disabilities, free transportation to medical appointments. We encourage people to be their own advocate.
Sample pages of the finished tool kit that will be handed out by community organizations to distribute and for care coordinators and legal aid to use as a tool with their clients.
Sharing our work
My collaborators Kulsum, Kaitlyn, and I presented the project at the Midwest Medical Legal Partnership conference in 2018. As part of the talk, I lead a human-centered design workshop to teach people about the design process.
Team: Kulsum Ameji, Amelia Piazza
My role: Design Research, Interviews with multiple stakeholders, Synthesizing information, Workshop Design, Facilitation, Visual Design of Research Information, Visual Design of Prototypes