research board

How Do Doctors Communicate About Contraceptive Methods?

Client: Communication Science Inc.

Location: Chicago, IL

I conducted ethnographic research and interviews with OB-Gyns and their patients to better understand how patients were being counseled about long-acting reversible contraception and how that in turn impacted their health behaviors and contraceptive decisions.

We video recorded office visits between 18 doctors and 177 women patients, then conducted follow-up interviews with both the medical practitioners and patients to understand how (and what types of) contraceptive counseling is communicated to patients.

Our research findings uncovered the roadblocks that prevented doctors from providing long-acting reversible contraceptive counseling, identified patient knowledge gaps and biases, and triggers or opportunities for education patients.

Our findings culminated in a communication strategy for counseling patients about long-acting reversible contraception that included an experiential event between doctors and patients, a deck, and video clips.

Research methods used: participant-observation, interviews, video ethnography, focus groups


Understanding the sickle-cell community.

Client: Communication Science Inc.

Location: Chicago IL & Toronto, ON Canada

I worked closely with a team of ethnographers and designers to conduct qualitative research on sickle cell anemia patients to understand why a targeted health communication campaign initiated by a major pharmaceutical company, had proved unsuccessful.

We conducted interviews with over 30 patients, 6 doctors, and 2 social workers in the United States and Canada. We spent two days shadowing each patient, and conducted two-hour interviews with health care professionals.

Our research revealed a number of insights into systemic breakdowns in doctor/patient relationships, implicit racial biases that impacted the health outcomes of sickle cell anemia patients who are predominantly of African descent, and opportunities for connecting with patients beyond the hospital..

Our findings resulted in a storybook presentation that included insights into the patients’ communication language, a community map, and decision-making pathways. This in turn led to a second contract to lead a different marketing approach to recruitment materials.

Research Methods used: In-home Interviews, Expert Interviews, Participant Observation, Video Ethnography, “Grand Tour” Method, Role-Play

user research

How Do Employers Choose Their Company’s Insurance Package?

Client: Conifer Research

Location: Houston, TX

I worked with Human Resource Directors, Vice Presidents and Chief Financial Officers on behalf of a major North American insurance carrier expanding into a new market to determine how employers view, plan for, and make health insurance decisions.

We conducted two-hour interviews with 20 participants both in-person and over video conference to understand what are the triggers, trade-offs, motivations and behaviors that underlie the decisions and actions (or inactions) of each group.

Our research revealed strategic opportunity areas for the insurance carrier to align with the employers’ vision and fill in the gaps that exist in the market. We identified what mattered most to employers, how to predict and thus intervene in decision-making behaviors, and who are the key players involved in making that determination.

Our findings culminated in a workshop with the client that included a deck, video clips, stories, summary profiles of each participant and behavioral typologies.

Research Methods Used: Expert Interviews, Photo-Ethnography Assignment, Video Ethnography