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Jody L. Vogelzang
Associate Professor
Department of Allied Health Sciences
Grand Valley State University
Just Lose It!: Exploring Health Adherence Through Design Thinking

This case study introduces “Rose” and “Michael,” a couple with infertility issues that may be related to Rose’s weight. The story details a visit to a pre-conception clinic and the struggle that Rose and Michael face in addressing underlying issues with adherence to clinic instructions. The case makes use of the five steps in the problem-solving process of design thinking as Rose and Michael progress through activities such as keeping a food record and a reflection diary, to navigating real life barriers to weight loss. Students assemble facts, synthesize information, and interpret behaviors during the sections of the case as they become familiar with terminology and techniques that impact a universal health issue of non-compliance, or as we find in the case, non-adherence. This case was developed for upper-level undergraduates and graduate students in a variety of health profession majors and would work well as part of an interdisciplinary class including social work, community health, health education, nursing, and dietetics.

Keeping to the Straight and Narrow: Health in a Halfway House

This case study tells the story of a group of ten men, recently released from federal penitentiaries, who are housed in a residential reentry center for the remainder of their sentences. Their stay is intended to bridge the gap between incarceration and return to life in the community. Due to the length of time served, the men are poorly skilled in healthy behaviors and self-reliance in the areas of food and activity. Although a work of fiction, the narrative realistically portrays a variety of challenges that the men face including a chronic health issue, menu planning, tight budgets, hunger, boredom, lack of cooking skills, and life without a local supermarket. Innovation, trial and error, and collaboration result in a story of resilience and health behavior change in a sparsely populated area of Northern Michigan. The case was originally developed for a college-level nutrition course, but could also be used in social work, community health, and health education, nursing, and dietetics classes.