For over a decade, I have worked with scientists to communicate their research to the world through creative, web and visual communication. As an artist, I have a unique perspective on approaching science communication and as a former research assistant, I have experience communicating my own research and data, as well. My experience in working at an academic medical center has provided me with an exceptional education in medicine and science, in particular, working to find creative and innovative communication efforts to elevate their work.
My background (and education) was originally in criminology, with a focus on race, gender and justice, so all of my design career has been from that perspective. Design and science communication should always be intentional, with an acknowledgement of the responsibility to the community that exists as well as an equity lens that promotes justice.
My interest in science communication is deeply personal to me, as well. My uncle died of AIDS complications when I was a child. He died in 1987, but before that, he chose to use his time to advocate for people living with HIV and AIDS and things like human centered language and person-first, in particular. He spoke about reducing the stigma for the disease. He spoke about these things when it was most imperative to do so, but also the most imperiled. His words filled the pages of Newsweek’s FACES OF AIDS issue in August 1987. He sat in front of a camera and recorded himself speaking for an AIDS conference. In the video, he says that he thinks he might see the fall. He died just days later in March. He also advocated for things like health literacy, believing that people had a right to accurate information communicated to them in a way that was accessible to them – and that has been my passion in action for the past twelve years working at a hospital.
As much as possible in my role as a designer at a hospital, I have tried to create designs that emphasize visual communication and that includes things like graphic medicine, or the intersection of comics and medicine.
I frequently give talks to our researchers about how they can better incorporate visual communication into their work, as well as some of the ways they can work with artists, what tools are available for them to explore and other ways to think more creatively as scientists in medicine.
As the Creative Designer at the hospital, I was part of the team that brought the first hackathon to a hospital in 2013. I also have since been a part of multiple hackathons, as both participant and as mentor, including hackathons with Children’s Hospital, the Clinton Foundation, and most recently, the MIT Grand Hack.
At several hackathons, my team received awards for our work, including multiple awards for a physical therapy video game prototype that involved motion sensors at the Children’s Hospital Hackathon.
This is a recent project I’ve been working on – creating visuals to promote healthy sleep. I created a standalone illustration with each of the tips as a single image and then individual cards for each tip with a breakdown and further information. I hand-lettered each of the tips for healthy sleep.
When creating these, I also had the idea to to turn them into animations as well for promotion on social media and other places online.