The Challenge

Community involvement is critical to the success of many Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD) outreach efforts, from youth violence prevention to raising awareness about Zika and preventing overdose deaths.  Community engagement depends on high-quality interaction. Use of extraneous or outdated materials, or platforms that people do not encounter in daily life diminishes the effectiveness of health messaging. For the next generation, it is necessary to utilize innovative messaging that integrates human centered design, technology and health education strategies. The best campaigns can educate people about their health risks and motivate the public to take charge of the health of their city.


The Opportunity

To create a platform that enables leading members of the community to serve as public health ambassadors. We propose to create an online community engagement platform, in close collaboration with BCHD staff. We will use human centered design to create community relevant, culturally pertinent outreach materials in order to address significant public health issues affecting the people of Baltimore. This community engagement platform will help to connect public health ambassadors with their community, and will provide them with resources to advance BCHD health promotion and wellness campaigns.

Civic Engagement Platform

We conducted interviews at the BCHD to assess their communication needs- internal and external. After analyzing these interviews and researching community engagement best practices, we developed a prototype website.

Below are sample pages from our prototype, which can be tested on Invision (only Dating Matters links are built out on the prototype).  In the coming months, we will consult focus groups to test our prototype and generate ideas with the public. Our goal is to gain insight into how to make a community engagement platform work for its users. Click the screen to try our prototype for yourself on Invision!

Ambassador Toolkits

We have developed a toolkit which will house educational material from the BCHD, and enable ambassadors to easily facilitate outreach workshops in their communities. Developing toolkits is the next phase of our process, and we will be working with the Zika outreach team to roll our our website and create content in the coming months!

Career Development

This certificate will be awarded to ambassadors who complete a training session and host at least one outreach event for the health department. A key component of the program will be to provide networking and career development opportunities for participants.

For updates on this project, please visit our Process Blog!