Leading with the Heart®
The Texas Heart Institute’s commitment to education sets it apart from other major cardiovascular centers. The Institute's educational activities include public outreach, postdoctoral and allied training programs, seminars, symposia, conferences, scientific publications, and training materials.
The Heart Information Center (HIC) remains a valuable resource for both patients and the general public. During the past year, HIC staff members have responded to more than 2,800 e-mail inquiries and calls for information. The facility, which is open to the public Monday through Friday, 8 am to 4 pm, is located on the first floor of the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital – The Denton A. Cooley Building, at 6770 Bertner Avenue. The HIC also provides assistance through a toll-free telephone number, 1-800-292-2221.
The award-winning THI website (texasheart.org) offers a full spectrum of research updates, physician training and educational opportunities, and public education resources. The website logs more than 3 million visitors each year. More than 80% of them viewed consumer health information in the Heart Information Center (HIC) section. All 170 HIC topics on the website are available in both English and Spanish and are reviewed each year for currency and accuracy. Of the site's visitors, 103,000 have taken the "How Healthy is Your Heart?" online risk-assessment survey.
An interactive website feature, Ask a Texas Heart Institute Doctor (texasheart.org/heartdoctor) allows anyone with Internet access to ask a cardiovascular health-related question or search previous answers. Members of the THI at SLEH professional staff answer selected questions, which are then posted on the website. Questions not selected for the website are answered by Heart Information Center staff. Thousands of questions have been submitted from all over the world.
As an extension of THI's educational mission, the Continuing Medical Education (CME) Department (texasheart.org/cme) provides online programs designed to keep physicians informed of the latest advances in the prevention and treatment of heart disease. The website offers health-care professionals an opportunity to view, and receive free credit for different online symposia, cardiology grand-rounds sessions, courses, and case studies. Participants can also track their CME credits and register for upcoming symposia online.
The website also offers the Heart Sounds Podcast Series. This Series, which can be accessed for online listening through RSS and iTunes, presents auscultation of various heart sounds relating to the anatomy, physiology, and diagnosis of heart disease.
Medical professionals can subscribe to CME-news to learn of recent additions to the CME website and upcoming CME events.
The Project Heart website (texasheart.org/projectheart), a heart-smart resource for teachers, parents, and students, extends the HIC outreach to the virtual classroom. With complete lesson plans for grades K through 6 at its core, the site provides educators with activities for teaching heart anatomy, good nutrition, and a healthy lifestyle. Materials comply with Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills criteria—a key standard for curricula. Proyecto Corazón extends all of the resources of the site to the Spanish-speaking population. The Project Heart Endowment (established by a grant from the Albert and Margaret Alkek Foundation) provided funds for the Project Heart translation and other expansions of the website.
An e-newsletter shares important news with the public: Heart to Heart, from THI President Dr. James T. Willerson, provides an in-depth look at THI at SLEH advances in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. Free subscriptions are available online at texasheart.org/news.
Improving the Skills of Heart Specialists
Several education departments at THI at SLEH have as their mission improving the skills of heart specialists.
The CME Department sponsors live symposia on topics such as cardiovascular intervention, arrhythmias, heart failure, heart defects, and surgery. Many of these symposia are held in conjunction with major national cardiovascular meetings.
The THI Journal has a readership of approximately 47,000 cardiovascular physicians worldwide; online submission of manuscripts began in May 2008. Website features (texasheart.org/journal) include real-time motion images, full-text articles, and links to presentations. Two issues have included CD-ROMs containing a complete CME course. Circulation of the scientific newsletter Heart Watch (also available online in both English and Spanish) has expanded to 35,000, and articles are now indexed on the website (see texasheart.org/physicians).
During the past year, nearly 350 manuscripts by THI at SLEH physicians and scientists have been accepted or published in books or professional journals, and nearly 600 manuscripts have been edited in the Department of Scientific Publications. At any given time, more than 150 manuscripts are undergoing the editing process.
The Library and Learning Resource Center (L&LRC) provides classes to teach healthcare professionals and researchers to use new technologies and electronic systems so that they can access rapidly evolving information about cardiovascular disease. The L&LRC also sends an e-newsletter with helpful information about using online resources.
Surgical teams from heart centers across the United States come to THI to learn new techniques, especially those involving new heart assist devices. THI staff members provided dozens of training sessions at THI again this past year and also traveled to multiple continents to provide on-site instruction.
Each year, 100 young heart specialists improve their knowledge and skills by participating in THI's postdoctoral programs. These programs have now attracted more than 3,000 heart specialists from 44 states and 47 countries.