The Steve Fund Approach to Design Thinking at BSC 2019 Career Fair at Yale...

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Yale's Afro-American Cultural Center

211 Park Street

New Haven, CT 06511

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THE STEVE FUND MISSION:

The Steve Fund is the nation’s only non-profit organization focused on promoting the mental health and emotional well-being of college and university students of color. It works with colleges and universities, students, non-profits, researchers, practitioners, and with groups serving diverse populations. It aims to stimulate dialogue and to promote effective programs and strategies that build understanding and assistance regarding the mental health and emotional well-being of the nation’s students of color as they enter, matriculate in, and transition from higher education.

OUR PILLARS:

  1. Building knowledge and thought leadership

  2. Creating programs and strategic partnerships

  3. Promoting awareness and dialogue

  4. Producing immediate impact for students through tech

WHAT IS DESIGN THINKING?
In its early beginnings, the vision and mission of the Steve Fund was established during a design thinking exercise among early board members and organization leadership. Design thinking, a process harnessing creative, scalable solutions in which we better understand and empathize with our end-user, is inherent in the DNA of the Fund.

WHY WE USE DESIGN THINKING
We believe that the experience of design thinking can not only bring together diverse groups of thinking, but create an impact for those communities who are in critical need of seeing and experiencing positive change.

Our approach to design-thinking experiences incorporates the following:

  • Creating a spirit of inclusivity and diverse group-think

  • An intimate understanding of our end-user through archetype and/or persona development

  • Capturing the essence of the challenges through the development of simple problem statements

  • Exercises and modalities that challenge participants to re-evaluate their assumptions

  • Prototype and concept development for implementation

CASE STUDY: DESIGN THINKING APPLIED TO COMMUNITY COLLEGES

According to studies, nearly 50% of community college students have a current or recent mental health condition such as anxiety and depression. Despite these numbers, the majority of students lack access to mental health services and treatments due in part to limited or no services available on campus, lack of health insurance, stigma, and/or the challenges of juggling work, family, and school and material hardships. For students of color, this phenomenon is even more acute. Students of color often face additional stressors and are almost twice as likely to not seek care compared to white students.

With community colleges playing such a crucial entry point to education and pathway to economic opportunity and mobility, we understood that the timing was critical for community college leaders to come together to address the unique mental health challenges and inequities of students of color and all at-risk students to support their well-being, academic, and workforce success.

To tackle these challenges, Kaiser Permanente and The Steve Fund came together to host a groundbreaking convening, Mental Health and Well-Being by Design: Leveraging and Scaling High Impact Solutions to Support Community College Students of Color and All At-Risk Students.

The event convened together a select number of mental health professionals, technologists, social innovators, community college leaders, and students from across the country to co-design and leverage innovation and technology to increase access and expand the scale, scope, and usage of mental health resources for community college students of color and all at-risk students. At the conclusion of the convening, leaders were well-equipped to go back to their colleges and take action to optimize, pilot, and scale the co-designed high-impact mental health solutions.

2019 DESIGN THINKING SERIES
In 2019, the Fund will host a series of Mental Health by Design conferences nationally to spur innovation and foster development of creative solutions at colleges and universities. Together with our partners, we bring to market relevant and fresh ideas that support the mental health and emotional well-being of students of color.

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Yale's Afro-American Cultural Center

211 Park Street

New Haven, CT 06511

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