Stroke Survivor Created Paths to Recovery

American Heart Association, Baltimore, Maryland, 2019

The American Heart Association is one of the key players in the prevention and treatment of stroke in the United States.


The American Heart Association (AHA) collaborated with me and my partner Nancy Molello at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Equity to facilitate a human centered design process with a group of stroke survivors and caregivers. The AHA was developing a toolkit to support stroke survivors during their recovery process and wanted to ensure it was designed by stroke survivors themselves.


Along with my partner Nancy, I facilitated a group of stroke survivors, caregivers, and public health professionals through the human centered design process. Before our first design session, I took the time to learn from stroke survivor created materials so that I was prepared to cultivate an accessible creative process for people with mobility limitations and/or aphasia.


The stroke survivor design team identified three priority ideas that I built into low fidelity prototypes, which the group then tested. The final design that the group chose to present to AHA is a stroke survivor curated content channel that is accessible in the homes and hospital rooms of stroke survivors. The design team identified video topic areas that would be most useful to stroke survivors.

I received strong positive feedback from group members regarding the accessibility of the process. One example of such feedback is copied below.


I wanted to drop a quick note to praise the workshop yesterday. M Strickland and Nancy (didn’t catch her last name) did a fantastic job leading the workshop, and I was particularly impressed and appreciative of M’s sincere enthusiasm and inclusiveness which greatly facilitated stroke survivor/caretaker participation. M started by outlining group norms that really helped people feel welcomed and safe, and M continued to emulate these group norms throughout the session by ensuring everyone felt comfortable asking questions, making sure all questions were answered to a point of group understanding and consensus, giving survivors and caretakers leadership roles within the session, allowing everyone enough time to express their thoughts without judgment/embarrassment, and being flexible as new ideas arose. I am excited to see what comes out of this project.

Please pass on my thanks to the JH Center for Health Equity team and congrats on a great second workshop!


<<design process team member>>

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