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Rachael Dietkus, LCSW


Social Workers Who Design

Gold Credentialed




Focused on Trauma Responsive Design, Research, Strategy, & Organizational Cultures

🌱 I am a social worker-designer focusing on care, ethics, and trauma awareness in design, social work, and tech. Much of my work is centered on 'design care' - an intentional framework that relies on an ethic of care, accountability, reciprocity, reflexivity, and possibility. 

 🌱 Since late 2022, I have served as a Digital Services Expert in Design and Social Work with United States Digital Service, a unit under the Office of Management and Budget and the Executive Office of the President in the White House. I am the first social worker-designer to join USDS, focusing on interagency trauma-informed and trauma-responsive public service design, research, strategy, and advocacy in civic tech.

🌱 My small consultancy, Social Workers Who Design, partners on design research and strategy projects worldwide. A big area of focus is facilitating what it means for designers to have a trauma literacy and care humility. I believe why we design is as important as what and how we design. 

🌱 I contributed to "Feminist Designer: On the Personal and Political in Design" (edited by Alison Place, published by The MIT Press, released in 2023). I am also slowly working on my first book on trauma and design with The MIT Press. 

🌱 Over the past 25 years, I have worked across social justice, social change, and human rights systems in the non-profit sector, higher education, and the federal government. I have been an AmeriCorps Member, a delegate to the UN, and a Governor-appointed Commissioner with Serve Illinois. 

🌱 I am currently an RSA fellow, as well as a fellow with the Social Work Futures Lab, an effort supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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