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U of M Center for Multimedia Arts Awarded Greenwall Foundation Grant
For release: June 13, 2005
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The University of Memphis Center for Multimedia Arts (CMA) and the Center for the Study of Rhetoric and Applied Communication, in collaboration with St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, have received an $83,000 grant from the Greenwall Foundation. The grant will fund a project the CMA has been working on in collaboration with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the U of M’s Center for the Study of Rhetoric and Applied Communication (CSRAC).

Researchers from the CMA and CSRAC are working with St. Jude physicians to devise a digitally interactive tool that will help parents of patients understand cancer-treatment processes more thoroughly. The U of M researchers are working primarily on the informed consent process that the legal guardians of patients must read and sign before children receive treatment. The current consent forms are written at a sixth grade level; however, the treatment procedures they describe are very complex. Additionally, parents reading and signing the forms are dealing with the life-altering stresses that materialize when their child’s life is at stake.

Because so many treatment schedules contain multiple layers of information, sometimes parents feel they were not fully informed when in fact the data was right there in the initial document. The hand-held computer-based tool aims to make parents and patients feel more a part of the treatment and allow them to make a fully informed and fully ethical decision by providing a resource that parents can continually access to learn more about their child’s ailment.

Future versions of the tool will include chat rooms for parents to correspond with each other and a place to post digital pictures to document their experiences which could help establish a tighter sense of community among families who are going through similar crises.

Housed in the University’s FedEx Institute of Technology, the CMA is a creative digital media environment where partners from the community, education and business work collaboratively to improve communication, enhance comprehension and enrich human experiences.

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Last updated: 03/18/2008 15:49:33
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