Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 23, Issue 11, pp 1446–1458 | Cite as

Primary Care Women’s Health Screening: A Case Study of a Community Engaged Human Centered Design Approach to Enhancing the Screening Process

  • Kathleen A. FoleyEmail author
  • Julie Shelton
  • Evan Richardson
  • Nikita Smart
  • Cindy Smart-McMillan
  • Opeolu “S’ade” Mustakem
  • Angela Young
  • Dan Davis
  • Dan Frayne
From the Field



To apply a Human Centered Design (HCD) approach to co-designing a comprehensive women’s health screening tool with community partners.


Evidenced-based health screenings for behaviors and risks are important tools in primary health care and disease prevention, especially for women. However, numerous barriers limit the effective implementation of comprehensive health screenings, and often lead to excluding important risks such as intimate partner violence (IPV). Utilizing a human centered design approach (HCD), Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC, NC USA) developed a community co-designed 9-topic health screening for women. Key end-users were recruited to participate in the design process, including women who identified IPV as a health issue in their community, Spanish speaking women, domestic violence program organizers, and MAHEC staff.


A total of 21 participants collaborated during three design sessions on two specific goals: 1) creating a comprehensive women’s health screening tool from the existing tools that were in use in our clinics at the time, and 2) incorporating IPV screening. Through the HCD sessions, participants highlighted the impact of what they termed “Triple T: time, trust and talk” on the effectiveness of women’s health screening.


Our co-designed women’s health screening tool is a first step towards addressing screening barriers from both primary care provider’s and community women’s perspectives. Future research will explore the facilitators of and barriers to implementing the tools in different primary care settings. Future work should also more systematically examine whether and how screening processes may reinforce or contribute to women’s feelings of being stereotyped, and how screening processes can be designed to avoid stereotype threat, which has the potential to reduce the effectiveness of screenings intended to promote women’s health.


Health screenings Women Intimate partner violence Human center design 



We would like to acknowledge the North Carolina Coalition against Domestic Violence, who provided funding for this project.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathleen A. Foley
    • 1
    Email author
  • Julie Shelton
    • 2
  • Evan Richardson
    • 2
  • Nikita Smart
    • 3
    • 4
  • Cindy Smart-McMillan
    • 3
    • 4
  • Opeolu “S’ade” Mustakem
    • 3
    • 4
  • Angela Young
    • 5
  • Dan Davis
    • 6
  • Dan Frayne
    • 7
  1. 1.Division of ResearchUNC Health Sciences at MAHECAshevilleUSA
  2. 2.Center for Quality ImprovementMountain Area Health Education CenterAshevilleUSA
  3. 3.Homegrown Babies, Asheville Childbirth Education, Birth DoulasAshevilleUSA
  4. 4.Sistas Caring for SistasAshevilleUSA
  5. 5.RosevilleUSA
  6. 6.Information Technology, Mountain Area Health Education CenterAshevilleUSA
  7. 7.Family Health CenterMountain Area Health Education CenterAshevilleUSA

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