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Reforming Health and Human Services for Immigrant Communities in NYC, USA

Topic: Health and Human Services University Involved: The New School Year: 2013

Project background

Immigrants face many barriers when trying to access services programs in New York City. Among the challenges that pertain to the complexities associated with the eligibility rules as well as the immigration system in the United States, the ones related to health and human services are especially preoccupying. Beyond the more obvious access barriers such as language, literacy, lack of knowledge about local cultural norms, there is strong fear of interactions with government among many immigrant communities. Part of which is justified, but mostly it is a question of perception.

The fact is that many service providers are in the obligation to not disclose personal details about the immigrant status, for instance. The person seeking help might not, however, know about that reality. But because of this perceived insecurity, immigrant parents might be reluctant to benefit from these services because they fear adverse consequences for someone in the family.

Given all the vulnerabilities of the immigration population, due to overall lack of transparency and information flows for recent immigrants, there are several risks of corruption and exploitation that immigrants might felt trapped in. New tools are needed to uncover typical risks and allow for systems redesign and policy recommendation.

How might we assess pain points of typical immigration journeys and recommend system redesign, for example in healthcare and human services, using service design approach and typical tools?

Aims and objectives of the collaboration

-Develop a new service design tool for Transparency International

-Give students hands-on experience into the practical work of a leading global anti-corruption NGO and its various needs for scoping studies, mapping exercises, project assessments, idea input to advocacy strategies, information design, etc.

-Students will get the opportunity to apply their newly acquired knowledge about service design skills to real-world research and advisory projects. They will be familiarised with practical anti-corruption issues and gain interesting insights into related research and advocacy initiatives.


Across the module, the deliverables will range from targeted background research or scoping studies, to visualization of data and case studies, support in building campaigns, assessing projects or giving input to strategy development.

Final project will be a service transparency evaluation framework, which will be used on different human and health services for immigrants. The class could be divided into three groups, each developing one tool:

-       Service blueprint (more systemic)

-       Story Board / game board (more time based)

Author :

30 Dec 2013

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