Melissa Gilliam

 Melissa Gilliam MD, MPH, is Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Pediatrics at the University of Chicago. She is the Ellen H. Block Professor of Health Justice. In November 2012, she launched Ci3 at the University of Chicago to create research to describe and address the intersections between inequitable systems (e.g. education, economic, health) and the well-being of adolescents and young adults. Ci3 works with and on behalf of young people marginalized by race, class, and sexual orientation taking an asset- rather than risk-based approach to addressing sexual and reproductive health, educational attainment, physical safety, and economic security. Ci3 uses storytelling, game design, and technological interventions to empower young people and create policy change domestically and internationally. 

Gilliam and Jagoda Collaborations 

In 2011, Drs. Gilliam and Jagoda launched an experimental project at the University of Chicago drawing upon Jagoda’s interest in games and new media studies and Gilliam’s interest in art and the health of young people. This project: the Game Changer Chicago Design Lab uses narrative and game design as tools for “critical making” or interacting with and thinking critically about the greater world. Through the GCC Lab, Gilliam and Jagoda are creating a series of projects 

Based on the success of games as a medium, Gilliam and Jagoda are now working on a new large-scale collaboration: Transmedia Story Lab, an entity devoted to studying narrative and its effects on the lives of young people. Specifically, Transmedia Story Lab will be a place for exploring the application of humanities-based theories of narratology (the study of narrative forms and the ways that they affect human perception) and narrative techniques across media (e.g. in subfields such as electronic literature studies). Transmedia Story Lab will explore the mechanisms and forms through which narrative might influence the well-being of youth and the larger systems and policies that affect their lives. Transmedia Story Lab will open up new research areas, interdisciplinary methods, and collaborative projects. We plan to explore stories in three ways: as methods for public health research, as processes to empower young people and structure new media curricula, and as polished outputs for wide dissemination.  Collaboration with Soundarajaran will help to galvanize this work. Other collaborators in our work in transmedia storytelling are listed below.