The Heartwell Project
Team Member: Carol Howenstine
EVENT DATE Nov 16, 2016
Brayden Chavis wrote -
Heart disease affects millions of people each year, beating out many cancers in mortality and five-year survival rates. One of the biggest hurdles with treating heart disease--as with many other diseases--is catching them before they become too severe. A great way to mitigate severe cases of heart disease is to educate people about the conditions that can threaten their lives, and do so in a way that makes sense to them. With The Heartwell Project, that’s exactly what we’ve set out to do. Led by Memorial Hermann cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Tom C. Nguyen, this project aims to break down these complex diseases, providing simple explanations for otherwise complicated issues, all backed by understandable animations. We want to create a full series, spanning a long list of prevalent heart diseases, to make sure that no patient or (or curious individual) is blindsided by medical jargon.
When Did All of This Start?
Around December of 2015, we decided to ressurect an old proposal of Dr. Nguyen's. This proposal would serve as the foundation for all of the work that followed. We began this process through open collaboration and diverse perspectives; a medical student (Mathew Terwelp), a high school student (Brayden Chavis), and Dr. Nguyen crafted The Heartwell Project’s first animation video, Understanding Aortic Stenosis. After months of hard work and preparation, we released the video on YouTube, and have garnered over 27,000 views in the five months since its release. We plan to continue on this path and make more videos, but can’t do it alone. This fundraiser has been created to help us in reaching that goal, providing the resources that we need to make The Heartwell Project a reality.
What’s So Important?
We’re making it easy to learn about a group of life threatening illnesses related to the heart, arguably the body's most important organ-- so, the better question to ask is, “why aren’t more people doing this?” We see this project as a great and palatable way to reach out to people, as social media has become a powerful force in the past few years. Many educational YouTube channels already exist with the same general video-making philosophy, albeit in fields other than medicine, with millions of subscribers. We’re filling an important niche with The Heartwell Project, and providing informative content that’s truly unique.
Where’s the Money Going?
Animation-- and especially well-done animation-- is expensive. To assure the level of quality that we’ve come to expect, all of the money raised will go towards the production of these videos and the appropriate infrastructure to support them. That means web design, ad placements on social media, and other tools to get this series circulating on the internet and beyond. As this is largely a community service, we’re involved in this to make as great of an educational impact as possible. We hope you can join us in doing that.