King County Health, Ryan White AIDS Foundation

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  • King County Health
    Ryan White AIDS Foundation Awareness Campaigns 2008-2010
  • In 2008 I was finishing up my BFA and took part in a studio class that brought in design opportunities from the community. King County Health had a series of awareness campaigns they wanted to develop to communicate with the Ryan White AIDS Foundation patients and demographic. The Ryan White Act is a federal program that addresses unmet health and social service needs of persons living with HIV.  The program is designed to improve the quality and availability of care for low-income individuals and families. Ryan White funds are available to pay for services that are not covered by other resources, such as Medicaid and Medicare. Ryan White Program Part A funds provide emergency assistance to the urban areas most severely affected by the HIV epidemic.

    Blurb on King County's HIV/STD website about the Consumer Awareness Project:

    The Seattle Ryan White Part A Program conducts quarterly "consumer awareness campaigns" to improve the quality of care for people with HIV in King County. Each campaign targets an area of care or health outcome prioritized for improvement by the Part A Quality Management Advisory Committee. The campaigns include posters, information cards, and buttons that HIV providers wear to reinforce the message and encourage conversations with clients. Each campaign is available in English and Spanish. The campaigns are focus group-tested with people with HIV and vetted by HIV care providers. All Part A funded programs in King County participate in the campaigns, along with most private HIV care providers in King County, several Part B funded case management programs outside of King County, and all Part C HIV clinics throughout the State of Washington.

    We are grateful to the Health Resources Services Administration for providing the funding to engage in quality improvement projects such as this, the Graphic Design Student Studio at the Art Institute of Seattle for developing the initial designs and concepts, and Jodie Eilers for ongoing graphic design.


    My role: The first two campaigns were done as a group of four with myself as the lead, in the studio class. The third campaign I completed with help from other students. The fourth, cervix, was completed as freelance after graduation and had initial research and idea help from another designer. The fifth was done by entirely by me. On a few campaigns I was heavily involved with King County Health contacts to help develop copy. King County Health provided all of the translated text.

    Status: The sixth and seventh campaigns (dental health and smoking cessation) have been researched and are in mockup stages. They are on hold due to government funding cuts for Public Health.

  • posters, in order of campaign release:
  • Campaign 1: "What‘s Your Score? Stay in the game. Talk to your provider. Know your CD4 and Viral Load test results." — This campaign encouraged the demographic to get their CD4 and Viral load tests so they could be more informed and thus better able to manage their health. These tests are difficult for many patients to get because they, essentially, give a snapshot of how sick they are. Many patients would rather not know. We used a sports scoreboard analogy and the line "stay in the game" to give it a more positive spin and illustrate the power the patient has to fight back just by knowing the test scores.
  • Campaign 2: "Everyday Adherence. If you skip your pills, HIV can mutate. Don't give it the chance. Talk to your provider." Some of the campaigns served almost more as teaching mechanisms than straightforward awareness, and presented interesting challenges. For instance, on this campaign: How do you both say that they need to take their anti-viral medication as prescribed and explain why in a way that the information has enough weight to inspire responsibility. And how do you explain all this in incredibly short phrases in basic, uneducated terms. Even here with this effective phrasing a leap is left out (due to space constraints on the poster) connecting the mutation with medication no longer working. Longer copy was utilized on the back of information cards.
  • Campaign 3: "Are You Covered? Don‘t let your EIP expire. Renew every year. Talk to your case manager." — Reminded the target demographic to file their annual paperwork so there would be no gap in their health coverage.
  • Campaign 4: "How's Your Cervix? Women with HIV are at a greater risk of HPV & cervical cancer. Get a PAP smear every year. Talk to your provider." — The instances of cervical cancer in this demographic with depressed immune systems is very high, and the willingness of women among many minority communities to get annual paps is quite low. This campaign was meant to initiate a dialog between the clinic staff and the patients about the importance of those annual checkups.
  • Campaign 5: "How Much is Too Much? Staying healthy with HIV can be tough. Too much alcohol can make it tougher. What's too much? Talk to your provider." — Alcohol abuse can lead to all kinds of complications, particularly for people already managing HIV/AIDS, and sadly can become a very negative self-medicating technique for low income people to try to cope with symptoms of the disease, both physical and psychological. This campaign needed to be non-judgmental and allow for the discussion of how much alcohol a patient could safely consume, if any.
  • Palette and cohesion: It was very important to me that, as an ongoing outreach, the campaigns have a cohesive style that would become familiar to the demographic (developing recognition and validity) and that the campaigns look attractive together in a positive and visually interesting way. The color scheme gains more power and attention the more campaigns are released and the more materials are placed together as a set. The image below shows magnets from the five currently released campaigns, hung together on a wall.