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PHOTO BY ROBERT KOZLOFF

Melissa Gilliam, MD, MPH, is the Ellen H. Block Professor in Health Justice in the Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Pediatrics, chief of the Section of Family Planning and Contraceptive Research, and dean for diversity and inclusion in the Biological Sciences Division.

is a long tradition of narrative as therapy — taking an experience that seems overwhelming and making it manageable through narration and writing.” Doing so can also improve one’s self-concept, particularly for adolescents who struggle in school. “Often young people are viewed through a very narrow academic lens, which may lead them to see themselves as failures,” Gilliam said. At Ci3, “whether it’s telling a story or designing a game, the idea is to start thinking about how there are many literacies and ways to learn and interact with the world.” For teens from socially and economically segregated communities, building new skills and having the opportunity to share their stories can be transformative. “We know that continuous exposure to uncertainty or insecurity as a result of social factors impacts health and resilience,” Jagoda explained. “Melissa is trying to make well-researched and creative interventions to counteract those forces.” “It’s not just looking at the public health outcomes like rate of teen pregnancy or sexual violence,” Gilliam added, “but also the larger community contexts, and the social and political structures that facilitate or inhibit the health of young people.” Her methods are shedding important light on barriers to sexual health as well as fueling promising solutions. One example is GCC’s “Bystander,” a short video game and curriculum developed with support of the Hive Learning Network. “Bystander” aims

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to change the culture around sexual misconduct. It teaches high school students effective bystander techniques to prevent gendered language and help prevent sexual harassment and assault. Through a series of interactive scenarios, players learn about sexual violence, are disabused of rape myths and learn what to do if they’re in a situation where sexual violence might occur. An accompanying curriculum helps teachers discuss these issues with their students and identify resources for those who have experienced sexual violence. “ Providing youth a supportive and empowering environment, Ci3 programs, storytelling workshops and youth advisory boards allow young people to be expressive and open about their lived experiences in ways they never have before, especially young people of color and LGBTQ youth.” Brandon J. Hill, PhD, executive director, Ci3

GCC plans to roll out “Bystander” first in the Chicago Public Schools and eventually across the nation. “Our goal is not just to design interventions but also get them out into the world,” said Gilliam, who has partnered with the University’s Chicago Innovation Exchange and UChicago Tech to distribute

MEDICINE ON THE MIDWAY

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Profile for University of Chicago Medicine

Medicine on the Midway - Spring 2016  

Medicine on the Midway is published for friends, alumni and faculty of the University of Chicago Medicine, the University of Chicago Divisio...

Medicine on the Midway - Spring 2016  

Medicine on the Midway is published for friends, alumni and faculty of the University of Chicago Medicine, the University of Chicago Divisio...