Communicating key health messages to support culturally diverse women

Thursday 24 October 2019

My Body. My Health toolkit illustration promoting outdoor activity

My Body. My Health toolkit illustration promotes outdoor activity, by Alexandra Gomez

In summary

  • Designs for Jean Hailes for Women’s Health My Body. My Health toolkit
  • Illustrations improve knowledge and understanding of women’s health issues
  • Communicating key health messages across cultural and language barriers

Master of Design student Alexandra Gomez is creating a series of educational illustrations for the Jean Hailes for Women’s Health My Body. My Health toolkit.

Jean Hailes for Women’s Health is an Australian not-for-profit organisation committed to improving knowledge and understanding of complex women’s health issues.

My Body. My Health is a health education toolkit developed to address an identified need for nationally-available, high-quality, user-friendly educational health resources for women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

It has been designed to support community workers and health professionals in delivering health education to migrant women with low levels of English and health literacy.

“After joining industry partnered co-design workshops at the Swinburne School of Design, Jean Hailes for Women’s Health identified Alexandra’s illustrations as an ideal fit for the My Body. My Health toolkit. It’s a great outcome for everyone involved,” explains Professor Simone Taffe, Research Director - Communication Design.

My Body. My Health toolkit illustration promotes a healthy diet for womenMy Body. My Health toolkit illustration promotes a healthy diet for women, by Alexandra Gomez

Alexandra’s easy to understand illustrations help to communicate key health messages across cultural and language barriers with the aim of supporting women to make informed, evidence-based decisions about their health and health management.

Used in individual, group or community settings, the toolkit provides presentations on topics including health checks, healthy eating, physical activity, emotional health and vitamin D. Each illustrated presentation delivers key health messages, facilitates discussion, and supports action and behaviour change.

My Body. My Health toolkit illustration promotes gardening activityMy Body. My Health toolkit illustration promotes gardening activity, by Alexandra Gomez

The toolkit was developed in partnership with the Centre for Culture, Ethnicity and Health and Ballarat Community Health. It is a multidisciplinary collaboration involving service providers, multicultural health organisations, clinicians, educators and consumers with expertise and experience in addressing the health needs of culturally and linguistically diverse communities. It embraces plain language, health literacy and adult-learning principles.

Alexandra is producing up to sixty illustrations for a range of toolkit modules in print and digital formats.

“My illustrations aim to empower women from migrant and refugee backgrounds by providing knowledge on a wide variety of health and wellbeing topics,” says Alexandra.

“My work aims to give life to the toolkit, providing the end user with a clear, concise understanding of key health messages developed by the team at Jean Hailes. I’m working through a range of modules - mental health, physical activity, healthy eating and health checks.

illustration for Jean Hailes for Women’s Health promotes physical activityIllustration for Jean Hailes for Women’s Health promotes physical activity by Alexandra Gomez

“The toolkit is aimed at a specific demographic, so we must consider how the drawings will be interpreted by women from various cultural backgrounds. My team and I have attended presentations where the toolkits will be shown.  We’ve engaged with educators and received feedback on how our target audience relates to the messages and illustrations.

“As the toolkit is aimed at women from migrant and refugee backgrounds, the final illustrations depict women from all over the world with their friends and family. The images support the health messages through positive, bright and inclusive representation,” she says.

illustration for Jean Hailes for Women’s Health of healthy lunch for childrenIllustration for Jean Hailes for Women’s Health of healthy lunch for children by Alexandra Gomez

“The toolkit will be presented as a projection or a printed flip book, so the line work is bold and easy to see with a clear focal point and minimal background detail. When creating the illustrations, I’m conscious to include a range of ages, cultures, abilities and social demographics to ensure the work appeals to a broad audience.”

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