StoryBridge is a multimedia storytelling project conceived of six years ago. It emerged out of a desire to develop community-based health humanities research centered on first-hand stories about health disparities. StoryBridge formally launched as a website in January 2020 and is based on the following strategy to address local health disparities: 1.) create an accessible platform to mobilize everyday stories based on experiences, perspectives, and insights on local health disparities; 2.) facilitate dialogues between diverse local stakeholders who offer key insights and perspectives to health disparities including patients, family members, health professionals, artists, and others; 3.) offer free online and community-based arts workshops to help community stakeholders develop health narratives and provide opportunities to display community health narratives in local venues to raise awareness on health disparities. An additional long-term goal is to partner with local universities to implement a rigorous service-based health humanities education with the goal of supporting students in their professional development and strengthening connections between communities and local universities. I received funding to support StoryBridge through one fellowship with the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) and one fellowship through San Francisco’s Health 2.0’s pre-accelerator program, Project Zygote. Funding through these sources helped with moving StoryBridge from a concept to a dynamic multimedia web platform.
The StoryBridge web platform launched shortly before the SARS-COV-19 pandemic prompted shelter-in-place orders in the San Francisco Bay Area, delaying efforts to carry out community based initiatives, including in-person arts workshops. Despite these delays, I developed a StoryBridge podcast and collaborated on online arts workshops, including “The National Parks of Emotions” a free photography workshop sponsored by StoryBridge and featured in the New York Times “Things To Do at Home”. I am now planning in-person and online arts workshops, a mobile exhibit, and community discussions. I am also planning a StoryBridge curriculum at San Francisco State University and service-based learning opportunities for students with local arts and public health organizations.