The Shorty Awards honor the best of social media and digital. View this season's finalists!

Special Project

Special Project NEW!
From the 5th Annual Shorty Social Good Awards

Youth Services During COVID-19

Entered in Public Health

About this entry

The San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) strives to protect and promote the health of all San Franciscans by providing a wide range of public health services and programs. Exygy partnered with San Francisco Digital Services (SFDS) and SFDPH’s Maternal, Child & Adolescent Health (MCAH) division to design a digital solution for the organization’s immediate communications during COVID-19, targeting youth. The Campaigns webpage, part of the larger umbrella, is a nimble and effective tool to reach underserved populations during this time of crisis.

During COVID-19, many teens sheltering in place weren’t able to access sexual health resources, like contraception. MCAH noted that teens were still continuing to be sexually active, but didn’t have the support system to keep them healthy. MCAH had a challenge communicating the available sexual health services for this group who often don't know where to turn or who to trust. 

Why does this entry deserve to win?

Grounded in the Needs of Teens

When COVID-19 upended the resources, services, and trusted familiar faces that teens turn to for support, it became clear that teens didn’t know where to answer important questions: What services are available to me during COVID-19? Where can I get birth control now? Where do I access gender care? What about housing, food support, or healthcare? We set out to create a web campaign that was informational, friendly, and accessible. We designed the Youth Services page to be a central location for teens to turn to during the pandemic to find out exactly where to get the help they needed.


Building Strong Stakeholder Relationships 

Throughout the process of creating this resource for teens, we’ve learned that our ability to move at the speed that information is needed relies on strong relationships. Part of the success of our rapid implementation was that the program had been working on fostering relationships with the involved parties for many years before the current COVID crisis. We were able to bring together a collaborative team, which included the San Francisco Unified School District Health Programs Office, University of California - San Francisco/New Generation Health Center, San Francisco Health Network’s Family Planning Program, and the San Francisco Department of Public Health’s Community Health Programs for Youth.

As a coalition, we had to create understanding between collaborative entities of the various organizational cultures,  as well as objectives to ensure mutual understanding and to come up with a set of common goals. And this had to happen fast - the urgency of the moment pushed us to develop and stick to a rapid timeline that surpassed the speed of many government projects. 


Bringing Agile to Government

The Agile methodology encourages building one small thing at a time, and growing from there. This framework is not commonplace in government projects yet, however when time is of the essence, it is a reliable way to get critical resources into the hands of users quickly. Exygy trained MCAH in adopting an Agile approach. Together, we determined that once the information was live, qualitative and quantitative data would be used to make enhancements post-launch.


The Youth Services During COVID-19 web campaign launched in one week. After one month, we conducted analytics analysis to understand how the campaign was performing and what changes we could incorporate. We noticed the following: 


Informed by analytics learnings, as well as feedback from program managers who regularly meet with youth and service providers, we made adjustments to the page to optimize for users. This adjustment is key to an Agile approach, as it lets us make changes that support users’ needs based on their direct feedback. Since launch, we have:

The one week launch of Youth Services During COVID-19 web campaign is a testament to the speed that government organizations can move when help is needed. This campaign brought multiple teams together to rapidly get critical information into the hands of teens, providing them with clear resources in an unprecedented time.


Entrant Company / Organization Name

Exygy, San Francisco Department of Public Health, UCSF, San Francisco Digital Services


Entry Credits