January review: Tiny steps

My job as a science communicator at the Max Planck Institute of Biophysics, was quite demanding in January. I had to create and implement a design for a report in a short time for the scientific advisory board that will visit the Institute in March. This didn’t leave me with many resources to work on my own business. But here are my tiny steps I have still made.

#1 Content check with a chief physician

After waiting for many months, I finally met with chief physician Dr. Roll. Roll had offered to check the content of my draft brochure on psychotic illnesses. I actually expected to have quite some discussions and disagreements on the type, style and sources of content I had selected and developed. Most of the content came from my own knowledge, experiences and what I thought would be helpful. To my surprise, we agreed on almost all points. Apparently, I had learned and memorised a lot of information. Also, I was relieved and happy to have found a like-minded collaborator.

What people think of when thinking of psychosis: “Just crazy, hearing voices, dangerous, criminal, unpredictable etc.” Prejudices that need to be addressed in the brochure.

#2 Studying the health literacy community

I have the vision to provide mankind with accessible health information by empowering healthcare workers to design their own education and communications materials. Therefore, I have started to follow a forum of health literacy experts. It’s great to see that they care about the same aspects of health communications, such as accessibility of the informations, psychological aspects, underrepresented groups and racism. However, I somehow doubt they would be interested and pay for learning how to design their own educational and information materials. It’s a feeling I still need to confirm.

I can help with #3 and #4 😊!

# 3 Volunteering to coordinate IT accessibility

Last year, I had been elected deputy disability representative of my employer. In January, together with my colleague and second deputy disability representative Mun Siong, I participated at the general assembly and annual conference of all disability representatives of the Max Planck Society. It has been a very intense time, because at the same time, I had to work on the report.

Mun Siong and me at the conference. She was very brave to participate in this German-only event with her limited German skills. She helped me a lot to stay on track while I was absorbed by my work on the report.

It was well organised – we had elections and workshops and – most importantly – plenty of networking opportunities. Although I was only able to join some of them, I managed to have some nice conversations. The workshop topics were spontaneously defined according to the needs of the participants. Almost half of us were newly elected representatives, hence, a workshop on FAQs with experienced representatives was formed.

Another workshop tackled the new regulation of the European Union that required the accessibility of digital tools and media. Since I had planned to take care of this topic at our Institute, I shared my experiences in the workshop. We were 9 persons with many questions and almost no answers. What is exactly required by the regulations? Will we get experts who help us to implement the requirements? I am happy to learn more and to educate others about how to make digital user interfaces and information more accessible. Therefore, I agreed to coordinate the group of interested representatives, together with the board of representatives of the Max Planck Society.

What else happened?

  • At the beginning of the month, I came back from a wonderful holiday with my son at the Black Forest. It was great to spend time together without having to care about any chores.
Everyday, we spend time in the forest ❤️.
  • Martina, the developer of my mental health platform Gesund in MeinerStadt, left our team. Thank you for your energy and spirit! We wish you all the best!
  • Developer Julian announced to join the Gesund in MeinerStadt team again. It’s great to have you back!
  • I have tried to change my eating habits: Eat “like an emperor for breakfast, like a king for lunch, and like a beggar for dinner”. After I had some sleepless nights due to hunger, I decided to take it slower.
  • I have started my investing course with Aysha van de Paer and to track my spendings with an app. This makes every spending a conscious one.
  • For the first time, I stood on the stage when a fellow member was awarded JCI Senatorship. When someone is given senatorship, it comes by surprise. The laudatory slowly reveals who is the one honoured. Then all Senators in the room come on stage to stand next to the member when the honour is officially announced and the certificate and pin are handed over. It’s a moment that always gives me goosebumps.
Alessa was given the Senator honour at the general assembly of JCI Frankfurt.
  • The Annual Reception of the Frankfurt Chamber and Commerce was again a blast!
Always great to meet JCI fellow members! Thank you, Sebastian Scholz (left), for the photo!
  • We celebrated Lunar New Year with my mother and my brother at a hotpot lunch.
  • I have discovered the meme generator. I tried to cheer up my brother with this meme:
My brother felt anxious about moving to a residence for individuals with mental illness. However, staying with my father also comes with disadvantages.
Having intimate conversations with Luise Geier-Asfiaoui and Claudia Kielmann, who both support women to live a better life.
Love this flip poster!
EMBL-branded memes at the bus stop

What do I look forward to in February?

  1. To implement the changes of the brochure and test the brochure with different users.
  2. To ask the participants of the health literacy forum whether they would be interested in learning how to design infographics.
  3. To start to compile the answers for the questions of the IT accessibility group.
Categorised as Review

By Shau Chung Shin

I am a designer, businesswoman and founder of HAHAHA Global and Gesund in MeinerStadt. I develop solutions and products that encourage an open and positive approach to taboos. In doing so, I contribute to a healthier and more peaceful world.

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