By Kristin Potterbusch, MPH
The Illustrated Case Study series contains two separate resources on topics critical to the future of integrated behavioral and physical health provision: chronic disease and trauma and sexual history as a vital sign. These drawn depictions of best practices and client experiences were created to offer an alternative learning pathway that would expand the ways we currently educate providers who function within integrated care settings (and beyond).
During 2020, the majority of upskilling options for health and affiliated health providers shifted towards virtual methods, such as webinars. Our team was interested in diversifying and challenging the norms around how virtual educational content was delivered. Graphic medicine is a frequently used modality within the health promotion branch of public health when there is a need to provide an accessible resource that would elicit patient/client behavior change and/or raise awareness about a health issue or concept. Those goals of behavior change and awareness raising aligned directly with the educational objectives we had for our audience of integrated health practitioners, therefore we selected graphic medicine as the modality we would utilize to diversify our offerings for a health care provider audience.
The topic areas chosen were selected carefully both to address current gaps in provider knowledge within the integrated care field and for the ability to translate to an illustrated format while still maintaining meaning for our audience- busy healthcare providers. Further, the work was influenced by principles involved in the practices of medical anthropology and lived experience storytelling. As such, the three narrators (Yael, Brandon and Judy) are resident subject matter experts at our organization who advised and offered composite experiences that translated into the core focus of the written “stories”.
Challenges that we faced included identifying the right artist, translating complex information into short easy to engage with dialogue, and discerning how to ensure our audience could and would access these resources. We interviewed numerous artists and were thrilled to welcome Kit Mills to our project team who came to us as referral from another similarly focused nonprofit. The bulk of time spent on development of the resources ended up being the writing and revision process, especially the exploration of what language could be cut by representing the concept instead through illustration. Finally, to overcome the difficultly of needing to explain both the concept and the content we changed the name of these resources to “Illustrated Case Studies”, relying on the more familiar term for our audience of “case studies” to present a more simplified and recognizable way to communicate about the resources.
Our team worked collaboratively for around 6 months to create the final products. Members of our team core team included myself (Kristin Potterbusch, MPH), Chaim Shmulewitz, Andrew Philip, PhD and our artist Kit Mills. As believers in the benefits of group process and the value of team science we purposely tapped into a rotating group of experts to review and inform the work: Judy Lipshutz, MSW, RN, Yael S. Lipton, MPH, MCHES, Brandon A. Harrison, Henrietta Croswell, MPH, Kimberly Mirabella, CPC-A, PCMH CCE, and others at our funding partner organization. Except for our illustrator, all of the above listed individuals are members of our team at Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC) which is a nonprofit focused on addressing a critical lack of access to primary care physicians and services in underserved communities. Funding for this specific work was received through a partnership with the federally funded Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Center of Excellence for Integrated Health Solutions.
The links to download the full resources are:
- Chronic Disease and Trauma – https://www.pcdc.org/resources/graphic-narrative-chronic-disease-and-trauma/
- Sexual History as a Vital Sign – https://www.pcdc.org/resources/graphic-narrative-sexual-history-as-a-vital-sign/
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