This week, we spent some time in class mapping the multitude of problems and pain points within healthcare and the health and wellness of people/communities.
This process is known as affinity clustering; a way of sorting items based on similarity. It minimizes the overwhelm of big ideas, problems or when writing an important paper. This process also helps to identify themes and patterns. It is a wonderful group exercise.
Create Teams Around Health & Wellness
(Honestly, I could not have planned this any better as every topic was an interest. In fact, I had met with Maria just a week earlier to brainstorm ideas for a project. Education and health related problems were at the top of our list.)
I learned about food deserts while studying clinical nutrition at the Maryland University for Integrative Health in a class that gave us an overview of how food and politics in communities. It was eye-opening and infuriating; a definite wicked problem and one I wanted to investigate further now and perhaps in the future. I suppose it was in learning about the social determinants of health that planted the idea that I was meant to stay in design but shift the space in which I worked. Perhaps.
Thankfully, in addition to Maria, two other classmates — Mackenzie and Laura — were also interested in tackling this problem! I’m eager to work with them.
This is Part 2 in a series documenting my learning experiences developing a solution to address food deserts, food security, health literacy, and health for populations. This project is part of our Designing Innovation course with Professor Lien Tran at the University of Miami, School of Communication. I am an IMFA (Interactive Media Master of Fine Arts) candidate.
At first, I thought: Wow, here’s a chance to binge-watch all my favorite shows and movies while laying on my back with a heating pad. Cool. But then I received orders from my physical therapist to move — two times a day. Movement helps keep the blood flowing which helps heal the body. Who knew?
I walked like a 95-year-old at first; snail-like and utterly self-conscious but I was determined to feel better. So every morning and every evening I went for a walk no matter if I only got half a block away from my house.
(Note: My back pain became chronic and took one full year to heal.)
Perhaps I’m weird but I don’t keep music on my iPhone. So, I decided to listen to podcasts. At first, I listened to marketing, design and business podcasts but I quickly got annoyed. They made me frustrated. I wasn’t sure why at the time but now I’m thinking it was because I was on a path toward something new.
Hmm … something to mull over for another post but let’s move on to my favorite three podcasts, shall we?
My friend Reese Spykerman (a stellar designer, btw) indirectly introduced me to Insatiable. One of her posts came up in my Facebook feed and there Ali Shapiro and I struck up a brief conversation about Dr. Kelly Brogan. Me being the curious cat, I went to her FB profile, checked out her website and voila — became an Insatiable listener. What I love about Insatiable and really, Ali and Juliet, is that they. are. real. I love their no-bs talk about how they think and feel about life, food, fitness and well, a slew of health-related topics. They share personal, intimate stories about themselves and get people to share their stories; some which have made me cry! Both are downright hilarious at times; their laughter so infectious I’ve found myself laughing out loud during my walks (thankfully no one has been around — crazy Asian lady!) Anyway, the more I listen, the more I get encouraged to live whole and eat whole; not obsessively. OK, that last bit … it’s a work in progress but they are on my team even if they don’t know it.
This podcast is new to me. I discovered it on NPR on my drive home from Wegmans. I had no idea listening to people talk about food (no pictures — hello) would be incredibly engrossing and how is it possible I had never heard of it until now?! Hosted by Lynne Rossetto Kasper,Splendid Table takes me into peoples’ lives, kitchens, farms, and pantries; restaurants, markets, gardens and more. I love the depth and richness of the interviews because they make me think about my relationship with food as well as food as community, business and well, identity. Physically I was in my neighborhood walking the familiar everyday route but my mind, heart, and stomach were taking a journey across the country and the oceans. Yum …
I’m not sure if food blogging is something I want to do as I navigate this career shift toward becoming a holistic nutritional consultant and coach but after listening to episode after episode I realized how much we self-employed people have in common. No matter our niche, running a business — individual or a small team — is a TON of work. I’ve learned a shit ton about what goes on behind the scenes for food bloggers, and the interviews opened my eyes to the dark side of blogging: trolls and well, mean people. But the yummy side? The episodes are full of techno-weenie goodies (Yay — I can be such a geek!) mixed with business strategy, productivity tips and plenty of great stories: how people got started, their struggles, their fears, successes, etc. Bjork does an incredible job with follow-up questions and the results are helpful, useful episodes with plenty of humor and just enough tangents to keep it real. Thank you, Bjork and Lindsay Ostrom (Pinch of Yum).