Our awesome project is OncArt!, an online/app-based platform connecting clinicians with artists to help cancer patients, especially in resource-poor regions. Clinicians in global health settings are routinely faced with misinformed patients who do return to clinic or adhere to their treatment due to language and time barriers. Artists, however, have the skills to close this information gap by illustrating treatment plans and prevention strategies. By connecting medical need with an artistic solution, OncArt!’s mission is to make art, explain cancer, and ultimately, save lives.
How does OncArt! work? First, OncArt! invites clinicians to submit their challenges and artists to create profiles on its website. Then, OncArt! matches the clinician with the appropriate artist, encouraging collaboration to create the ideal visual tool for the cancer patient. After the artist finishes the custom artwork and the clinician vets it, the artist uploads it to the OncArt! website, and the clinician downloads it on mobile phone or computer to deliver to the cancer patient. Finally, each artwork is archived in OncArt!’s searchable repository, ensuring that cancer-related art can be accessed instantly by others in need of this service.
The OncArt! team has signed on three key advisors from the design and medical fields, developed a prototype website, recruited a professional back/front-end web developer to work on a final website, and produced cancer graphics. We have also established a key collaboration with global healthcare clinicians at Massachusetts General Hospital. At the 1st Global Oncology Hack-a-thon, OncArt! was awarded the Alpha Core Prize, with attached funding from the National Institutes of Health for mentoring and incubating by Boston University’s Center for Future Technologies in Cancer Care. We are planning 2 pilot programs to launch this summer: one local for Hispanic immigrant women in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and a second in Mbarara, Uganda.
Funded by Boston, MA (June 2016)