Planned Parenthood of NYC

Innovating access to sexual & reproductive health information for youth from immigrant communities in New York City

Planned Parenthood of New York City approached the 2019 cohort of Strategic Design and Management students at Parsons School of Design to develop an innovation strategy that broadly address the engagement of immigrant communities with sexual health care centers and their services, in New York City. As part of a four member team, I reframed the challenge to focus on how might we improve access to sexual and reproductive health information to youth from immigrant communities in the Jackson Heights and Chinatown neightborhoods of New York City.

Using ethnographic design research tools, we uncovered that only a small percentage of young people from Asian immigrant communities had formal access / exposure to sex-ed resources. We also identified gaps in what formal sex-ed entailed and what young people wanted to learn and know about in real life. Through engaging conversations with over fifty individuals in the age group of 13 to 18, and expert interviews, we learnt that, due to a somewhat conservative upbringing, young people from certain immigrant communities found it difficult to talk about their sexual and reproductive well being, and that there was a clear need to foster dialogue and healthy relationships, while providing access to reliable and accurate information on sexual and reproductive health topics in an engaging manner. Our research and resultant strategy using a bottoms-up approach, helped Planned Parenthood engage and connect with the target demographic, by addressing their pain points.

We employed a host of research methods like interviews, fly on the wall observations, field visits, and also designed interview probes ‘hey cards’ that enabled us to collect insights on things that people didn’t or couldn’t talk about in interviews. We synthesized our findings and eventually prototyped a few iterations of a gamified resource. The prototypes further helped define the topics, questions, as well as the tone and phrasing of contents that resonated with our target group, in the context of a game. What emerged as truly valuable at the end of the testing process was the contents of the game itself. We pitched a two-tier implementation plan to PPNYC. The low barrier to entry model, leveraged PPNYC’s social media channels and youth health worker networks to drive meaningful engagement. Second involved a business plan for the development and possible integration of a sex-ed game within the PPNYC mobile application.




We designed interview probes ‘hey cards’ that helped dig deeper and engage with participants.

Rapid prototyping activities

Chhavi Jain 2020