For patients with end stage heart disease who need a heart transplant, the experience of an extended hospitalization while waiting for a life-saving organ and then undergoing life-saving surgery can be an emotional and stressful journey.
Art therapy, in which a trained art therapist facilitates a creative outlet for patients to express their feelings, can help heal the patient's mental, physical and emotional health and bring a sense of optimism through their recovery.
A new crowdfunding campaign is underway to raise $5,000 to kick-start a new program called Heal My Heart with Art to help heart failure patients at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center improve their well-being through creative expression, as well as to develop an art-based program to help prevent heart disease.
"Patients spend such long periods of time in the hospital due to their heart disease," said Dr. Mario Deng, professor of medicine and medical director of the Advanced Heart Failure, Mechanical Support and Heart Transplant program at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. "Providing our patients with an opportunity to express their emotions creatively would be invaluable to their mental and physical health."
UCLA Spark, an online crowdfunding platform for innovative projects underway at UCLA, will host the campaign from April 26 through May 30.
The campaign will kick-off at a Heal My Heart art show on April 26 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Kerckhoff Hall Grand Salon located on the UCLA campus at 308 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles, 90095. A reception and series of talks will be held from 2 to 3 p.m.
Heal My Heart with Art is a collaboration between students from UCLA and Marymount High School in Los Angeles, heart failure patients, physicians and researchers from the Advanced Heart Failure Laboratory at UCLA. The group is led by Victoria Groysberg, a UCLA student and president of National Society for Leadership and Success, and Charlotte Starling, a Marymount High School student and intern in the Advanced Heart Failure Laboratory.
"The universal language of art will help reduce disparities across diverse populations in the greater Los Angeles area," added Dr. Martin Cadeiras, assistant professor of medicine at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.
Follow the conversation on Twitter at @HealMyHeart2014 and on Facebook
To learn more, watch a video and support the Heal My Heart project, please visit http://ucla.in/1rncD39.