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.
Reaching Out and Sharing Knowledge
Adjacent to the HIC, visitors will find the Wallace D. Wilson Museum with interactive educational displays, historic items covering scientific breakthroughs in treating heart disease, and art pieces in the Celebration of Hearts collection.
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 4 million unique visitors each year. More than 85% of them view consumer health information in the Heart Information Center (HIC) section. All 172 lay-information topics — on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease — are available in both English and Spanish and are continually reviewed and updated for currency and accuracy to meet the strict requirements of HonCode certification. More than 100,000 of our site's visitors 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. Manned by 37 cardiologists, surgeons, and experts in pathology, nuclear medicine, pharmacology, and nutrition, Ask a Heart Doctor answers more than 800 questions in a year which are posted on the website. Questions not selected for the website are answered by Heart Information Center staff. To date, more than 5,000 questions have been answered, submitted from all 50 states and 83 countries around the world.
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 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 have as their mission improving the skills of heart specialists.
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 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 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.