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ICL: Healthcare



Design Research / Communication Design / Graphic Design


MFA Design for Social Innovation School of Visual Arts

How might we demonstrate the innovative approach of a healthcare provider?

People with serious mental illness die 15-25 years earlier than the rest of the population. This has alarmed the behavioral health field as they realize they are failing their patients and can no longer separate mental health from physical wellness and the strength of support systems. ICL (Institute of Community Living) is leading the efforts to instill this mindset throughout every aspect of their organization, making it a pivotal time to support them. Through inspirational storytelling, my project team demonstrated ICL’s core values and recognize frontline employees who are implementing these values in an exceptional way. This will translate into increased visibility to the outside world, including clients, outside providers, and funders.

my role

Through ethnographic research and interviews with over fifty employees (from the leadership team to frontline staff) we heard several key messages over and over. ICL is a healthcare agency, not just a behavioral health specialist. ICL needs to make sure that people realize it, practice it, have the skills they need to follow through on it and are being held accountable for the part they play in this organizational shift. Several people in interviews mentioned a disconnect between administration and front-line staff. Front-line staff expressed a need to feel more valued and appreciated for the difficulty of the work they are passionate about.

our response


Our project centered on promoting this shift and ICL’s leadership in it, to the outside world. Internally this meant materials and tools to help present and promote this shift. Externally, this meant presenting history and ICL as thought leaders to the national healthcare environment. “Success would mean that every ICL employee understands the role they play in helping the people and communities we serve to improve their health status and long term outcomes.” Appealing internal messaging to ICL staff - Reframing values into actionable practices (e.g., trauma-informed, recovery-oriented, etc.) - Appreciation and inspiration for staff and clients. We then set up a "locker room" website with all of the resources, instructions for set up, etc.


"[Your team's work is] very well done. Coming from the Communications world, I can say that you captured a lot of essential things [in your ethnographic research] very quickly." - Client at ICL

photos of the project & process


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