Denise Shanté Brown, MA, is a designer and mental health advocate strategizing compassionate interventions for connection, well-being and social transformation.
During her collaborative practice at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) Center for Social Design, her master’s thesis addressed the undertreatment of depression among Black women as well as mental illness bias and discrimination. Personally connected to this socio-cultural issue, she explores new ways that community-driven design can be used to support mental, emotional and spiritual well-being, with a focus on merging compelling qualitative and quantitative research.
Working at the intersection of design and health with other social changemakers, Denise has co-designed interventions that integrate mindfulness, storytelling and self-empowerment to elevate personal growth and activate one’s inner and outer resources. Her leadership style honors conscious practices and strategies that inspire action while balancing and broadening the perspective of design as a transformative tool for healing.
As a recipient of MICA’s Fred Lazarus Leadership for Social Change Award and Leslie King Hammond Graduate Award, Denise has been recognized as someone who, through the power of design, is able to engage in meaningful ways with the Baltimore community, raise awareness of public issues and create lasting change.
In her role as a Nature Sacred Fellow, Denise connected the potential impact of green spaces in urban environments to her work around the mental well-being of Black women. She was particularly interested in unearthing Black women’s historical and spiritual connection to the land and the ways in which experiences with nature can bring forth holistic healing and recovery.