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Case Studies

Rocky Mountain Public Health Training Center: Storytelling Webinars and Working with Native American Populations

Ary Smith

We've heard time and time again from public health professionals that there's a need - to put the "public" back into public health, and that while many talk about community engagement, they still need to find successful and viable ways to do this. That's what the Rocky Mountain Public Health Training Center (RMPHTC) said to us when they asked us to come in an lead workshops for public health professionals across the Rocky Mountain region. 

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The Nature Conservancy: Communicating in New Ways About Marine Planning

Emily Paulos

Since its founding in 1951, the vision of the Nature Conservancy has been a world where the diversity of life thrives, and people act to conserve nature for its own sake as well as its ability to fulfill human needs and enrich their lives. Through the dedicated efforts of its diverse staff, the Nature Conservancy uses a non-confrontational, collaborative approach to advance conservation efforts around the world. 

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Project Re•Vision: Bringing a Disability Lens to Health Care

Emily Paulos

Project Re•Vision aims to help participants share their experiences with health-care providers and policy-makers in hopes of eliminating stereotypes, increasing understanding and improving health care and policy. “There’s a lot of evidence that people with disabilities are invalidated, and their health care is poorer than those without disabilities, states Project Revision Director Dr. Carla Rice. “If we can bring a disability studies lens to health care and begin to get health-care providers from doctors onward to see disability as another identity category – as opposed to a biomedical or individual problem – that’s going to go a long way to improve health-care interactions.”

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Sunny Hill Services: Critical Conversations - Talking with LGBTQ Youth About Mental Health

Emily Paulos

While significant gains have been made in raising awareness about the challenges faced by LGBTQ-identified young people in navigating familial and community stigma and accessing queer-friendly health and mental health services, these youth continue to experience discrimination and misunderstanding in mental health settings. The “Our Space” program of Sunny Hills Services provides a safe environment for LGBTQ youth to talk about their difficulties and successes. Our Space also advocates with providers for improved service delivery.

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Nehemiah Corporation: Leadership Through Storytelling and Technology

Emily Paulos

Effectiveness and ethical practices seem to be often at odds in professional environments, civic as well as commercial.  There is a tendency to put organizational needs over the needs of the people and their communities being served.  This can lead to disastrous results.  Through appropriate training, support and ongoing dialogue, leaders in organizations can find ways to hold the stories of their public, with the story of the stresses and strains of maintaining an institution.  Over the years, many institutions have created fellowship programs for emergent leadership to instill a sense of ethics and integrity of purpose in young professionals.

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Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County: Using Storytelling to Inform Exhibition Planning

Emily Paulos

A museum that serves a million visitors a year has many stories to tell about the intersection between the museum staff and the public.  StoryCenter was invited to assist in a series of workshops connected to the launch of the massive Nature Gardens/Nature Lab indoor/outdoor permanent exhibit in 2014.  The goal was to look at how storytelling could inform the planning and implementation process, and build a stronger sense of trust and awareness among the many layers of staff engaged in the project.    

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National Park Service: Digital Storytelling Ambassadors Program

Emily Paulos

The lead up to the 2013 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington D.C. for Jobs and Justice, the event that gave us the "I Have a Dream" speech of Martin Luther King, Jr, had the National Park Service engaged in a number of activities related to commemorating the Civil Rights Movement.  The Park Service management of the National Mall, and important African American D.C.-based historical sites including the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House and G. Carter Woodson House, engaged in programming to call attention to local civil rights history.  They were particularly interested in having local youth connect with people who had experienced the March first hand and had been engaged in civil rights activism in the period leading up to and after the march.

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Mayo Clinic: Digital Storytelling as a Health Intervention for Somali and Latino Adults with Type II Diabetes

Emily Paulos

Type II Diabetes is higher among immigrants and refugees in the U.S. than in the general population, and many people in these populations are less likely to receive the healthcare information that they need. Healthy behavior changes, such as increased physical activity, dietary modifications, and medication adherence are often more challenging for many immigrants and refugees to implement - due to multiple, complex reasons, including language barriers, cultural norms, and socio-economic barriers. Low health literacy disproportionately affects racial and ethnic minority groups.

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"If Not Us": Intergenerational Storytelling and Theater Focused on Civil Rights History and Present-Day Social Action

Emily Paulos

StoryCenter, along with project partners, received a grant from the Arts Affinity Group, a donor-directed fund out of The Denver Foundation, to engage students at Denver's East High School and elder activists in the surrounding community to participate in an All Together Now project around upstanding in the context of civil and human rights.

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Houston Community College: Embedding Digital Storytelling Across the Higher Education Curriculum

Emily Paulos

Charlotte Hamilton, director of College Educational Technology Services at Houston Community College, Central Campus, believes that “Digital Storytelling helps students learn and become more engaged. It also helps them improve their listening skills. And for faculty, to work in a collaborative group environment using 21st century teaching techniques and learning new technology provides the opportunity to think outside the box for instructional projects.  Digital Storytelling inspires creativity, intuitiveness and supports faculty in their effort to ‘flip’ the classroom.”

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Hear Our Stories: Shifting Dominant Narratives About Young Moms and Sexual and Reproductive Health

Emily Paulos

Despite increased attention within the public health field to the need to refrain from stigmatizing teen mothers, prevailing views continue to suggest that these young women cause a whole host of social problems. In an effort to reframe public conversations about young moms and sexuality, health, and reproductive rights, the University of Massachusetts, Amherst School of Public Health initiated the “Hear Our Stories” project.

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Pathways to Food Dignity: Narratives Documenting Local Efforts for More Sustainable Food Systems

Emily Paulos

Recognizing that the globalized food system dominating food production and consumption in the United States is both unhealthy and unsustainable, committed activists around the United States have for years now been exploring ways to create alternatives. The United States Department of Agriculture-funded Food Dignity project is a research, education, and extension effort bringing together five local organizations and three universities, to learn how to build healthy, sustainable food systems.

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Fielding School of Public Health, UCLA

Emily Paulos

Graduate level public health education often involves professional field placements that test the knowledge of the students within the context and conditions they will find in community and international settings.  Reflection on field placements becomes a critical part of the training process for the pre-professional.  The stories of successes and challenges in these placements by students, many of which will likely become leaders in public health projects around the world, assists in telling the story of the educational institution's own goals and accomplishments.   The Fielding School of Public Health wanted to gather graduate students engaged in placements to have them create stories of how service changed them as people, as professionals, and how their work, and by extension the work of the Fielding School, was changed by their service.  

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Community Bridges - Concord, New Hampshire

Emily Paulos

Community Bridges supports individuals with disabilities in Central New Hampshire that promotes opportunities for people with disabilities to have positive control over their lives. StoryCenter spent the Fall of 2014 supporting their organizational capacity to help the people they serve, individuals with developmental disabilities and their families, create stronger connections with each other and with the wider community. Community Bridges focuses on supporting people with developmental disabilities living full lives in their communities.  They want community members to benefit from their relationships with people with disabilities as much as their clients benefit from these relationships.  The intent of making and sharing stories is to break down stigma and promote authentic mutually helpful relationships. 

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Charleston County Public Library: Capturing Community Stories

Emily Paulos

Charleston, SC has a rich history and oral storytelling heritage, and the Charleston County Public Library (CCPL) is one of the hosting partners of the annual Charleston Tells Storytelling Festival each spring. In 2014, CCPL decided to add a digital component to the storytelling festival. After contacting StoryCenter, CCPL applied for, and was awarded, a Library Services and Technology Act grant from the Institute of Library and Museum Services administered by the South Carolina State Library.

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Asian Women’s Shelter: Stories by Asian and Pacific Islander Women of Surviving Violence

Emily Paulos

While community support services for survivors and witnesses of violence are widely available in the United States, specific attention to the country’s diverse cultural and linguistic needs continues to be in short supply. Asian Women’s Shelter (AWS) has for more than 20 years provided survivors of violence and their communities with vital programs that address domestic violence and human trafficking. AWS works with survivors from across the San Francisco Bay Area, United States, and Pacific Territories, paying particular attention to the cultural and linguistic needs of immigrants and refugees from West, South, Southeast, and East Asia.

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PBS & Colorado Public Television: American Graduate Project

Emily Paulos

Colorado Public Television is focused on curbing the dropout rate among Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (GLBTQ) students, which is nearly three times the national average. The youth media engagement project aimed to re-engage kids in school through the multi-media effort "Drop in Denver," community conversation, and guidance to eight at-risk youth who created a series of compelling video stories on personal experiences with school.

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Partnership for Appalachian Girls’ Education (PAGE): Teaching 21st Century Literacy Skills to Appalachian Girls

Emily Paulos

Though all areas of Appalachia share problems of rural poverty, the central Appalachian region, which includes western North Carolina, has the highest poverty rate and a higher percentage of working poor than the rest of the United States. According to the Appalachian Regional Commission, nearly 60 percent of adults in central Appalachia did not graduate from high school, and almost 30 percent of Appalachian adults are functionally illiterate. There is also greater gender inequality in the region than in the rest of the country. Women from the south central Appalachian states share common challenges resulting from low educational attainment, limited employment skills, few strong role models and low self-esteem.

 

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