Here’s a glimpse of some of the projects I’ve worked on:
I. User Journeys: From the Empowered to the Powerful. As a sociocultural anthropologist, I’m commiCed to discovering user insights from historically marginalized voices. But I’ve found that it’s also equally important in research to “study up.” Studying up means capturing the insights of elite groups and stakeholders who directly impact policy—and inequalities. For example, I worked on a team to help provide a large multinational health insurance company with key insights from employers, rather than employees, in the agricultural sector. While we could’ve advised the client to focus solely on farmworker’s perspectives for this study, we targeted farm employers instead because they were directly involved in creating—or prohibiting—new spaces for health intervention for their employees. By studying up, we helped the client beCer understand the power dynamics and key players that could lead to the improvement of farmworkers’ health and wellbeing. You can view the results from our work here that were presented at the 2016 International AIDS Conference.
II. New Voices, New Data in Health Research. My experience in improving people’s lives includes identifying community solutions on a National Institute of Health study in the San Francisco Bay Area. I was involved in designing and conducting all aspects of the project cycle, including engaging with government departments and citizen’s priorities and demands, to deeply understand a complex community health problem: How do substance users manage chronic pain? This ethnographic project took me to the streets, homes, and clinics where substance users live and access healthcare to document firsthand their hopes and aspirations for living pain-free. My commitment to engaging new voices to address this problem led me to generate new kinds of data and contribute to concrete results in changing how opioid prescribing occurs in the Bay Area. The findings from our research can be found here.
III. The Human Side of Tech: Giving aid to aid agencies. I’ve spent the last 10 years helping human rights agencies understand how everyday survivors of violence use humanitarian tools—like forensic science—to transform the violent past into sites of testimony and healing. In doing so, I’ve guided human rights organizations to understand the human story behind the tech. I’ve received several awards for my human-centered design research, including a writing grant from the Royal Norwegian Embassy and a residency fellowship at the Carey Institute for the Global Good to write my book. You can read here a chapter from my book, which has been solicited by the University of Pennsylvania Press.