About Us

The PPE Portrait Project is a group of researchers: artists, health care implementation scientists, doctors, a user experience designer, photographers, and a moral philosopher specializing in practical ethics and bioethics dedicated to improving the connections between people who can’t see each others’ faces, especially in the healthcare environment. We volunteer our expertise to help institutions and individuals adopt PPE Portraits, and establish best practices through research and dialogue with our partner institutions.

Mary Beth Heffernan is an artist and professor of interdisciplinary arts at Occidental College. Her research-based practice focuses on corporeality and how our physical existence is bound up in images, language and material culture. Heffernan created the PPE Portrait Project in response to the Ebola epidemic in 2014-16, and is advancing its use in COVID-19 care and beyond.




Cati Brown Johnson is a research scientist focused on healthcare implementation science in the new School of Medicine General Medical Discipline’s Division of Primary, Preventive and Community Medicine at Stanford University.




Paige K Parsons is a photographer and user experience researcher. She is the house photographer for several music venues in San Francisco, including The Fillmore. Her design clients have included Apple Computer, Netflix, and Netscape Communications. These seemingly disparate threads all intertwine; All of Paige;’s work is centered on exploring and capturing the joy of human connection.




Stacie Vilendrer MD MBA is a board-certified family physician and a health services researcher at Stanford School of Medicine. Dr. Vilendrer uses the tools of implementation science to study clinician incentive & feedback design, the dynamics of team-based clinical practice and the incorporation of emerging technologies into clinical workflows. She joined the PPE Portrait project based on her passion for finding and testing innovations that improve the patient and provider experience in health care delivery.



Alexis Amano MS recently completed a Master’s in Community Health and Prevention Research and will be working as a Social Science Researcher in Stanford Medicine’s Division of Primary Care and Population Health in the Fall. Her research has involved the application of implementation science to study healthcare provider incentive structures. Amano’s interest in implementation science as well as her passion for innovations that improve healthcare delivery led her to join the PPE Portrait Project.



Cynthia Pérez is a Research Assistant in Primary Care and Population Health at Stanford University School of Medicine. A member of Presence Five (P5), she Assisted in a mixed-method research study doing data entry, recruitment of participants and helped facilitate Presence Circles. Pérez advised on the cultural interpretations of the PPE Portrait Project and translated the project implementation documents into Spanish to expand the potential project practitioners.



We’d love to help you implement PPE Portraits in your own unique setting. Please reach out!

Health Care Institutions or Medical Clinics, please contact Cati Brown-Johnson.

Assisted living facilities, nursing homes, or preschools, please contact Paige K Parsons.

Are you interested in adopting PPE Portraits in a new setting? Please contact Mary Beth Heffernan.

Are you from the media and interested in covering our project? Please contact Cati Brown-Johnson.