Ci3 Year in Review The Center for Interdisciplinary Inquiry and Innovation in Sexual and Reproductive Health (Ci3) at the University of Chicago

It’s been a busy year here at Ci3.

Founded in 2012, the Center has grown in ways that you could not imagine. As we prepare to usher in a new year of goals, visions, and aspirations, we wanted to share the progress we’ve made in 2015.


At Ci3, we cover a lot of bases with our research: interdisciplinary work, deep inquiry, and innovative methodologies. But before we delve deeply into those areas, there’s one more “I” we want to highlight: Impact.

Meet Michael Gordon (pictured above). Michael participated in our S.E.E.D. Summer Program in 2014 and then became a Game Changer Chicago Design Lab youth fellow. He now serves on the Youth Leadership Council at the Illinois Caucus of Adolescent Health (ICAH). During the summer program, Michael and his team developed a board game about employment inequality. By working with Ci3, Michael used game design to learn about serious topics like healthcare and economic disparities, which reinforced the importance of education. Now a senior, he is currently applying to colleges and excited about graduating and taking the next step in his education.

Help us provide more students with opportunities to identify their life goals.

Please be sure to designate your gift to Ci3 by selecting other, and typing Ci3 in the “special instructions” box at the bottom of the donate page.


If we could add a fifth “I” to our name—do not worry, we won’t—we would also use the word intersectional. At Ci3, we take a broad view of sexual and reproductive health, considering the larger social, economic, and political contexts that create health disparities for youth of color and sexual minority youth. Only by addressing the multiple systems that influence health and wellbeing can all young people face their futures with optimism. While this perspective is complex, our solution is simple. We engage youth in art, design, science, and technology to help them gain agency, build skills, and think critically about the world around them.


Last summer, Ci3 moved into a sleek new space. Our new office, located at 1307 E. 60th Street, has an open floor plan with large community space, which accommodated an energetic alumni reunion for the students from our last two summer programs.

This year also saw the development of Ci3’s Transmedia Story Lab (TSL). TSL’s work builds upon South Side Stories, a two-year project that collected and archived short-form personal documentaries created by African American youth living on Chicago’s South Side. In South Side Stories, youth and community organizations collaborated with students and faculty from the University of Chicago to create stories and a body of research that aimed to counter dominant narratives about the lives and sexual and reproductive health of African American youth, including sexual minorities. TSL will design, create, study, and use transmedia storytelling with young people both domestically and globally to inform public discourse, research, and policy.

Join us in our growth by making a contribution to Ci3 today.

Please be sure to designate your gift to Ci3 by selecting other, and typing Ci3 in the “special instructions” box at the bottom of the donate page.

Game-Based Learning

The Game Changer Chicago Design Lab (GCC) was Ci3’s first program. It was founded as an experimental collaboration to develop serious games, interactive learning experiences, and digital media art with youth and for youth. GCC has had a phenomenal year, working with more than 50 youth participants in projects that exposed them to the college campus as they explored science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and health issues through our Hexacago Health Academy, which was supported by the National Institutes of Health Science and Education Partnership Award.

GCC is also well into the development of Bystander, a digital game based on bystander interventions, a prosocial approach to addressing community problems, such as violence. Bystander includes a game and educational curriculum for use in classrooms. Four mini-games help young people learn the skills to recognize and address sexual harassment, reject rape myths, access resources to support victims, and recognize the role of drugs and alcohol in sexual assault. Beginning in 2016, Bystander will be tested in Chicago Public School classrooms.

Why We Say Transmedia

A Creator’s Guide to Transmedia Storytelling, by Andrea Phillips, defines transmedia as the technique of telling a single story across multiple media platforms and formats including, but not limited to, games, books, theatrical events, cinema, and websites. The purpose is to highlight both differences and bridges across media and to experiment with novel forms of contemporary narrative.

Going Mobile

Mobile technology has changed so many facets of our professional and personal lives. Inspired by the potential of mobile technology, Ci3 is identifying new ways to reach young people with essential health information. This past year, Ci3’s Program in Adolescent Sexualities began developing three mobile applications to be used in clinic waiting rooms to facilitate communication between healthcare providers and young people.

miPlan, a waiting room app, was designed with and for African American and Latina adolescents and young adults. The app helps them explore birth control options prior to their provider visit and is currently being tested in several community health centers. Feasibility and acceptability research for the rPlan mobile application also began this November. rPlan is designed to help young people identify a personal strategy for preventing both sexually transmitted infections (STI) and pregnancy. Currently in the development phase, miPrEp will educate, engage, and determine eligibility for young black young men who have sex with men with Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention.

Help us take the next step in mobile technology and positive health outcomes for youth by supporting our work through your gift.

Please be sure to designate your gift to Ci3 by selecting other, and typing Ci3 in the “special instructions” box at the bottom of the donate page.

Global Reach

This year, Ci3 launched a global program. In September, Ci3 team members traveled to India to host a day-long workshop at the University of Chicago’s Center in Delhi. The workshop brought together community-based organizations working on adolescent reproductive health and allowed Ci3 to learn from leading research and advocacy organizations.

This winter the work begins in full. Ci3’s Transmedia Story Lab will collaborate with youth-serving organizations in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh using art and digital media to hear young people’s stories. Ci3 will partner with the University of Chicago alumnus Sandeep Ahuja MPP ’06 and founder of Operation ASHA to use transmedia storytelling and innovative research techniques as we learn about the lives of young people by engaging youth in art and multimedia projects.


As our activities increase, so does our scholarship. This year, we have published numerous papers highlighting our research and approach to positively influencing young people. Support from entities such as the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society has enabled us to create research that crosses disciplines such as the humanities and sciences. Recent publications include:

  • Reinvigorating adolescent sexuality education through alternate reality games: the case of The Source (Published in Sex Education: Sexuality, Society and Learning)
  • LifeChanger: A Pilot Study of a Game-Based Curriculum for Sexuality Education (Published in the Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology)
  • Worlding through Play Alternate Reality Games, Large-Scale Learning, and The Source (Published in the American Journal of Play)
  • Mother-Son Communication About Sex and Routine HIV Testing Among Younger Men of Color Who Have Sex With Men (Published in the Journal of Adolescent Health)


At Ci3, we believe that passing good legislation is not enough. Policies must be implemented, translated, and studied so they can benefit the people they are meant to serve.

For example, this year, in partnership with the University of Chicago’s Section of Family Planning and Contraceptive Research and EverThrive Illinois, Ci3’s policy team carefully documented contraception and abortion coverage offered by health insurance plans on the Illinois health insurance marketplace. The authors reviewed the scope of contraception and abortion coverage, rated the ease of access to information regarding benefits, and made recommendations to insurance companies about how to best serve families in Illinois.

As you can see, 2015 brought a lot of new ideas and projects to life at Ci3. Ci3’s mission is to empower young people and improve the broad systems that affect their wellbeing. Achieving these goals takes rigor, dedication and, most importantly, support from you.

We can’t do it without you. Join us in our vision of a world where every young person has the opportunity and ability to lead a healthy sexual and reproductive life.

Please be sure to designate your gift to Ci3 by selecting other, and typing Ci3 in the “special instructions” box at the bottom of the donate page.

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.