Unapologetically prioritizing the wellbeing of Black women
to co-design transformative possibilities for inner and outer HEALING.


about Denise Shanté Brown

Denise Shanté Brown, MA, is a holistic design strategist, mental health advocate, facilitator and thought leader whose work focuses on centering the health concerns, creativity, and imagination of Black women. Known for her quiet yet bold intentionality, Denise’s collaborative practice addresses mental illness bias and discrimination and explores the relationship between design justice and health equity in ways that are holistic and culturally relevant.

Through design and healing practices, Denise has uncovered ways to navigate and make meaning of her lived experiences with depression. Because she knows what it’s like to feel weighed down, she creates space to develop liberating tools and strategies with Black women seeking a compassionate support system that awakens their capacity for self-leadership, sustained health and self-recovery. Denise approaches her work with deep vulnerability to remind women that we can transform the way that we care for ourselves and possibilities for healing can be accessed within our own creative wisdom.

As someone integrating the transformative power of design with the audacity to be well, Denise’s work engages the whole self. She has designed health interventions and listening session models for community leaders within organizations, facilitated creative dialogue and educational workshops on self-compassion and mindful social practice, and conducted design research on mental and emotional wellbeing that emphasizes the stories of people behind the data. Much of her applied knowledge was birthed from her Master’s degree in Social Design from the Maryland Institute College of Art, and the rest can be attributed to her curiosity and intuition. The culmination of her thesis led to her current role of Robert W. Deutsch Social Design Fellow and The Institute for Integrative Health Nature Sacred Fellow in Baltimore, Maryland.

When pausing from the ever-evolving workflow to actualize health equity and design justice, you can find Denise making time for quiet reflection in nature throughout the city, writing poetic reflections in her journal, capturing insights on post-it notes, and finding reasons to rewatch highly-melanated episodes of Issa Rae’s, Insecure.


Credentials & Trainings

Masters of Social Design, Maryland Institute College of Art

Bachelors of Fine Arts (majoring in Graphic Design), The Art Institute of Atlanta

Trauma-Informed Care, Baltimore City Health Department

Emotionally Intelligent Leadership & Social Justice-Informed Mental Health, BEAM

Mental Health First Aid, Mosaic Community Services

Storytelling for Change, +Acumen

Compassionate Activism: Responding to Everyday Oppression with Love and Justice, Everyday Feminism

Moral Imagination, +Acumen

Lived Experience, Life