Working to build engagement through cultural competency and clinical excellence

Samyukta Mullangi — October 20, 2015

Last week we made a big announcement regarding our newest partner, Vinfen. Vinfen is an extraordinary organization committed to helping adolescents and adults with psychiatric conditions, intellectual and developmental disabilities, brain injuries, and behavioral health challenges to live full and healthy lives. Their programs incorporate the latest in science-based interventions tailored for young adults with health issues, and reflect an enduring person-centered holistic approach, which is what makes Vinfen’s programs so unique and successful.

We were introduced to the Vinfen leadership by our partners at McLean Hospital and our initial goal was to work with their team to design a program that could be delivered through Wellframe’s Intelligent Care Management Platform, which incorporated the highest standards of science informed care and was optimized for young people. Our aim, as in every Wellframe project, is to use technology to amplify and extend Vinfen’s existing human resources rather than to replace them, while empowering users.

From the start of the project, we worked closely with Vinfen’s staff, ranging from the front line care facilitators and members, all the way to the CEO and senior leadership team. We have found when the senior leadership of an organization are as engaged as the frontline care providers, the effect of technology and design can be game changing. We collaborated with them to determine best practices around everything from what types of questions to ask to what wording would resonate best with a young adult population. Rather than deploying “one-size-fits-all” program, we worked to build a program that was sensitive to the needs of Vinfen’s audience. As we’ve seen in the past, messaging that is relevant and resonates with one group will not necessarily work for another. Moreover, a program that does not feel relevant to the people using it would alienate them. As such, we adapted the program based on cultural and socio-economic factors, including all recommendations that felt relevant and actionable for Vinfen’s population.

Throughout the development process we met regularly with young adults and Vinfen’s facilitators to get their feedback and to ensure that the program continued to evolve in line with their aspirations for it.

While there are programs across the country where committed staff are working tirelessly to support people with long-term mental health issues, in the United States there are typically not enough of these programs to go around. As the burden of long term mental health problems continues to grow, the lack of these essential services results in avoidable suffering and precipitous cost as the consequences of a lack of preventive care are hospital admissions and avoidable interactions with the criminal justice system. Many people believe that things can and- in fact, should- be better and we are thrilled to be working with Vinfen to use our technology with our commitment to participative development to bring the highest standards of supportive mental health care to those who most need it.  

Samyukta Mullangi

Samyukta Mullangi

Marketing and brand strategy consultant

Samyukta is currently pursuing a joint MD-MBA degree at Harvard with a focus on healthcare strategy and delivery system innovation.