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US Digital Response

U.S. Digital Response (USDR) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that helps governments and organizations respond quickly and efficiently to support the critical needs of the public.


Leveraging a network of pro-bono technical expertise and modern, resilient technology, USDR addresses and uncovers solutions for common, systemic challenges that public servants are facing, leaving them better equipped to deliver services and support to millions of people nationwide.

As of May 2021, USDR has partnered with more than 230 government and nonprofit partners on 300+ projects, impacting more than 42 million people across 36 states and territories, and we’ve built a dedicated community of nearly 7,000 pro bono specialists driven to serve in a time of need.

Service

User Research, UX/UI Design, Content Strategy

Client

US Digital Response

Year

2021

ٍSolv USDR webinar How to tackle covid vaccination challenges and speed up delivery

I was the Design Lead for USDR's Health Program where I led 15+ projects with local and state governments and NGOs in COVID-19 crisis response including in design, research, and communication. I also onboarded and supervised 30+ senior team members. The range of engagements I helped support and advise stem from translation, transcreation, information architecture, redesign with improved content strategy and visual design, health equity strategic communication, and research.

"Elham was a Technologist-in-Residence for USDR’s Health Program. Elham brought a combination of expertise, energy, kindness, and joy to the role. Her domain expertise in healthcare equity allowed her to support many of our government partners improve their vaccine outreach efforts. Her energy and her skill at project management allowed her to scale up her efforts to lead a large team of volunteers while simultaneously creating reusable artifacts and speaking at a number of events to evangelize her work. Her kindness and joy made it a pleasure to work with her as a team member, pitching in wherever she could and ensuring a smooth transition as she ramped down from the six-month technologist-in-residence role." - Alex Allain, CTO and Co-Founder, US Digital Response

Approach

  • Led 15+ projects with local and state governments and NGOs in COVID-19 crisis response including in design, research, and communication

  • Supervised 30+ senior team members

  • Created a USDR user research playbook with different qualitative and quantitative methods aligned with a justice lens

  • Applied a trauma-informed design approach

  • Created COVID-19 Communication Toolkit: A Health Equity Lens

  • Incorporated equity into government partners' health communications efforts

  • Performed mixed-methods research for concept testing, usability testing, and surveys

  • Applied research insights to design prototypes for improved COVID vaccination and testing information navigation and health literacy

Results

I grew a lot during my tenure as a technologist-in-resident with USDR. The psychological safety helped me challenge myself, my teams, volunteers and my government partners to recognize the root causes of inequities during COVID crisis response.​

A few notable accomplishments I helped shape and lead are collaborating with the Arizona Department of Health Services to do bilingual usability testing on its vaccine portal. The research I led with a team of expert qualitative researchers led to interface changes that lowered the sign-up time by *8 min* and vaccine scheduling time by *3 min* on average.

Another is improving vaccine information webpages with updated content and design with Pueblo County, CO that reduced the number of clicks to book a vaccine appointment from 5 to 1.

USDR Technologists-in-residence in healt