Samuel R. Mendez - CV

Email: smendez[ at ]g[ . ]harvard[ . ]edu Portfolio:

Research Interests.

Public health communication & community engagement, social determinants of health, and multimedia co-creation within research partnerships.

Long-term professional goals.

Develop partnership frameworks and communication tools/strategies to enable co-creation across community research partnerships and inform long-term change in social systems for health equity.


Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

PhD student, present. Boston, MA.

PhD Student in Population Health Sciences, in the department of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Select coursework: Program Evaluation, Health Literacy, Community-based Participatory Research, Epidemiology Methods.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

SM, 2020. Cambridge, MA.

SM in Comparative Media Studies. Thesis: “Health Equity Rituals: A Case for the Ritual View of Communication in an Era of Precision Medicine”. Select coursework: Collaborative Design Studio, Cultivating Public Engagement with Science, Participatory Action Research Theory, Participatory and Collaborative Evaluation.

Harvard College.

AB, 2014. Cambridge, MA.

Magna Cum Laude, High Honors in Field. Concentration: Visual and Environmental Studies. Secondary Field:  Global Health and Health Policy. Senior Thesis: “A Bodega”, an animated documentary about the food for sale at a corner store in Lawrence, MA.

Academic Publications.

2021. Simon MA, O’Brian CA, Tom L, Wafford QE, Mack S, Mendez SR, Nava M, Dahdouh R, Paul-Brutus R, Carpenter KH, Kern B, Holmes KH. “Development of a web tool to increase research literacy in underserved populations through public library partnerships.” PLoS One, 16(2): e0246098. DOI: 10.731/journal.pone.0246098.

2020. Linton S, Mendez SR, Simon MA. “Abortion referral patterns among generalist OB/GYNs and primary care practitioners: A qualitative study.” Contraception, 101(2): 132-136. DOI:10.1016/j.contraception.2019.10.009.

2018. Mendez SR, Linton A, Tom L, Simon M. “‘The only place I know that I can send patients to’: Chicago-area generalist providers’ perceptions of Planned Parenthood”. Frontiers in Women’s Health, 3(4). DOI:10.15761/FWH.1000153.

2013. Ramanadhan S, Mendez SR, Rao M, Viswanath K. “Social media use by community-based organizations conducting health promotion: A content analysis”. BMC Public Health. 2013;13:1129. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-13-1129.

Presentations & Workshops.

2021. Mendez SR. “Engagement”. Guest lecture on dissemination and community engagement as part of SBS 231: Community Intervention Research Methods. May 4. Boston, MA (virtual).

2021. Rosenfeld L, Tomsho K, Bakshmi O, Cruz J, Mendez SR, Siu, C. “Health Literacy: Education through Media”. Workshop presented at CARE 2021 Conference. Northeastern University Global Health Initiative. March 20. Boston, MA (virtual).


2021. Gomez VB, Garthe RC, Mendez SR, Johnson C, “H.E.A.L.T.H.: Designing for Safety and Equity”. EDRA52. Detroit, MI (virtual).

2020. (Accepted, conference cancelled due to COVID-19). Narain J, Ananthabhotla I, Mendez SR, Taylor C, Siu HC, Brugnaro L, Mallozzi A. “ATHack: Co-Design and Education in Assistive Technology Development.” Poster presented at: ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. April 25-30. Honolulu, Hawaii.

Other Published Work.

2020. Mendez SR. “Co-Creating Public Health.” Immerse. Web.

2020. Mendez SR. “Centering People with Disabilities in Engineering .” Immerse. Web.

2020. Kim A, Mendez SR. “The Artist-Engineer in VR: In conversation with Xin Liu and Qinya Guo.” Immerse. Web.

2020. Mendez SR. “Sundance VR Tackled Climate Change With Groundbreaking New Projects.” IndieWire. Web.

2019. Mendez SR. “Building Irreverent and Intersectional Futures: Design justice and co-creation in the ‘Make the Breast Pump Not Suck’ Hackathon.” Immerse. Web.

2019. Mendez SR. Sundance VR: The 2019 Festival Showed That the Future Is Not Passive Viewing.” IndieWire. Web.

2019. Mendez SR. “Doing Inclusion, Making Strong VR Experiences: Lessons From the Team Behind 4 Feet: Blind Date.” Immerse. Web.


Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Health Communication in the 21st Century, Teaching Fellow.

Spring 1, 2021. Online.

Facilitated online discussion, graded and provided feedback on individual/group written assignments, and contributed to the course reading list for the course taught by K. Viswanath.

Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Playing with Health Communication.

January, 2021. Online.

Developed and delivered a series of online workshops as part of January@GSAS. The workshops focused on the role that media arts and humanities theories might play in an alternate view of public health communication.

Instituto Health Sciences Career Academy.

Exploring Health Equity Curriculum within HEALTH program.

2020 June to Aug. Chicago, IL.

Developed the curriculum for an 8-week series of workshops on health equity as part of the HEALTH program, put on by the Chicago Botanic Gardens and Instituto Health Sciences Career Academy. Delivered the curriculum to two groups of 8 high school students. The curriculum focused on workshops and lectures to grasp health equity concepts, followed by a series of discussions with Chicago activists, researchers, and community organization staff.

Documentary Video Workshop Curriculum within HEALTH program.

2019 June to Aug. Chicago, IL.

Developed the curriculum for an 8-week series of workshops on documentary video as part of the HEALTH summer program, put on by the Chicago Botanic Gardens and Instituto Health Sciences Career Academy. Co-instructed the curriculum to 15 high school students. The curriculum focused on applied film theory, engaging students to think critically about what they were filming, how, and why.

Beaver Works Summer Institute.

Assistive Tech 2019.

2019 December to February. Cambridge, MA.

Created Module 1 (Intro to Assistive Technology and Disability) for a MOOC, designed as primary engagement with students interested in an in-person summer class to work on projects with co-designers living with disabilities. This module focused on the social nature of disability and the importance of co-design in assistive technology.

Research Experience.

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Research Assistant with A. Geller.

2020 Dec to present. Boston, MA.

Worked with A. Geller to develop the framing and communication approach for a project to connect school leaders, instructors, and families with resources around social-emotional needs amidst K-12 school reopening and COVID-19 recovery. Created written content for a forthcoming web portal and helped develop the framing and strategy for forthcoming webinars.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Researcher in the Open Documentary Lab.

2018 Sep to 2020 May. Cambridge, MA.

Conducted literature reviews to identify innovative nonfiction new media projects and enter summaries into Docubase, a curated online database for technologically innovative documentaries. Reported on the new media lineup at the 2019 & 2020 Sundance Film Festival for IndieWire. Conducted background research and copyediting for the Collective Wisdom report on co-creation in nonfiction media-making. Curated, edited, and authored content for the Immerse online publication as part of the Collective Wisdom launch.

Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Research Assistant in the lab of M. Simon.

2016 Sep to 2018 Aug. Chicago, IL.

Conducted qualitative research on generalist healthcare providers' family planning referral patterns. Worked on community engagement for a U54 tri-institutional grant, including creating a partnership resource guide. Conducted introductory web accessibility informational sessions for content writers on the U54 website. Led stakeholder meetings, focus groups, codesign sessions, and usability testing for a clinical trial informational website to be deployed in local library branches; translated findings into website features for our tech consultant.

Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center.

Research Assistant in the lab of K. Viswanath.

2011 June to 2014 Aug. Boston, MA.

Developed a system for analyzing social media content produced by community-based organizations. Conducted usability testing and administered web surveys on tablet devices to populations disproportionately at risk for smoking in Massachusetts.

Rush University Medical Center.

Summer Research Student in the lab of S. Chubinskaya.

2010 June to Aug. Chicago, IL.

Participated in the Rush University Biochemistry Research Program. Used Western blotting methods to help their lab further elucidate the chemical pathways in healthy human cartilage cells.

American Cancer Society, IL Division.

Summer Research Student in the lab of J. Hook.

2009 June to Aug. Chicago, IL.

Worked in the lab of J. Hook on a meta-analysis of the cognitive effects of chemotherapy.

Professional Experience.


Web Series Director, Co-Creator.

2015 Dec to 2016 Aug. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and remote work.

Co-created the concept & format for "10 Days in Saigon", a 10-week web series on wheelchair travel in Ho Chi Minh City. Served as director, head videographer, and head video editor for the series. Co-managed the production schedule and led a team of 10 interns to meet goals in subtitling and background research.

Dipont Education Management.

Regional Video Project Manager.

2014 Aug to 2015 Aug. Hangzhou, China.

Led a team of 7 in writing, translating, and producing text/video resources explaining the US college application process in Chinese. Directed, filmed and edited 4 instructional videos for the QQ mobile video platform. Scheduled and managed a team of 4 to film 36 interviews with Chinese students in 5 major cities.


Summer Intern.

2012 June to July. Basel, Switzerland.

Conducted a literature review on fostering innovation within a large corporation. Conducted individual interviews and a focus group to assess unmet internal communications needs within a recently merged department, as well as to gather feedback on an internal online communication platform.

Grants, Fellowships, & Awards.

2019. MIT, Sandbox Innovation Fund. Cambridge, MA. Startup funding to form a nonprofit design studio focused on health and science communication projects. (Interrupted due to COVID-19 pandemic.)

2019. MIT, Priscilla King Gray Public Service Center. Cambridge, MA. PKG Summer Public Service Fellowship.

2019. MIT. Cambridge, MA. Benjamin Siegel Writing Prize. For essay, “All of Us? A Case for Ritual Communication in Community Engagement for Health Equity.”

2017. Chinh India Kids Film Festival. New Delhi, India. For short film By Foot: Busan and the Sea. Official Selection.

2017. National Academy of Medicine. Washington DC. For short film A Bodega.  Official Selection for Visualize Health Equity: A Community Art Show in a pop-up gallery; selected for inclusion in panel event at a national stakeholder meeting.

2017. Official Latino Short Film Fest. New York, NY. For short film By Foot: Busan and the Sea. Exceptional Artistry award winner.

2017. TRAVEL FilmFest. Limassol, Cyprus. For video series 10 Days in Saigon. Best Travel Web Series award finalist.

2017. Chicago Park District. Chicago, IL. For short film A Bodega. Official Selection for screening in 3 city parks as part of the Chicago Onscreen local film showcase.

2017. Chicagoland Shorts, Volume 3. Chicago, IL. For short film Persefone’s Breakfast. Finalist.

2017. WE CARE Film Festival. New Delhi, India. For video series 10 Days in Saigon. Official Selection.

2016. Official Latino Short Film Fest. New York, NY. For short film Persefone’s Breakfast. Exceptional Artistry Award nomination.

2014. Chicago REEL Shorts Film Fest. Chicago, IL. For short film A Bodega. Exceptional Artistry award nomination.

2014. Blue Plum Animation Fest. Johnson City, TN. For short film A Bodega. Official Selection.

2014. Harvard Interfaculty Initiative in Health Policy. Cambridge, MA. Cordeiro Summer Research Fellowship.

2014. Harvard College. Cambridge, MA. Harvard College Scholar.

2013. Harvard College. Cambridge, MA. Harvard College Research Program grant.

2012. Harvard College Cultural Agents Art & Science Fair. Cambridge, MA. Cultural Agents Initiative grant for installation: Connect the Dots!

2011. Harvard College. Cambridge, MA. Harvard College Research Program grant.