Heart Day – Q&A with Devin Chetan
What started as a case study, Undergraduate MD students, class of 2015, Devin Chetan and Sean Kennedy soon turned a health problem into a huge opportunity for education in Southern Ontario.
What is Heart Day?
Heart Day is a grassroots educational session designed for Grade 5 students to improve their health by learning about simple anatomy and physiology of the heart, common types of heart disease and manifestations, and how to reduce the risk of heart disease. Heart Day sessions are taught by dynamic health professional student volunteers who engage the students in interactive activities (mostly medical students, but students from other related disciplines, i.e. pharmacy, nursing, have also volunteered).
This program is offered with endorsements from the Heart and Stroke Foundation, World Heart Federation, Population Health Research Institute, McMaster University, and The Labatt Family Heart Centre at The Hospital for Sick Children.
How did Heart Day get started?
One day while working on a case, we were discussing the increased burden of cardiovascular disease on society. While thinking about the root of the problem, we identified a need for increased awareness of prevention strategies in the younger demographic to help reverse this crippling trend. Devin had previously done a presentation to elementary school students, during his undergraduate degree, teaching them about financial literacy. He was surprised at how responsive the students were and how well received the presentation was. He proposed a similar format for disseminating the information to elementary school students. Sean was very receptive to the idea.
How has McMaster helped you achieve this initiative?
McMaster has been very supportive of our initiative. The undergraduate MD office not only offered to financially support the program, but also provided us with valuable resources to grow at an organizational level. The school has offered administrative support, technical expertise, mentoring guidance, and links to other tools we needed to succeed.
When will Heart Day activities be taking place this year?
Heart Day activities will be taking place throughout the academic school year depending on the demand from schools and the availability of student volunteers. The vast majority of classroom sessions are usually held between September and December.
How can people get involved in Heart Day?
We are always looking for strong members to join our executive team to help grow our program further and enthusiastic volunteers to make presentations in schools. We are also seeking financial support so we can expand the program to reach the maximum number of students and schools as seamlessly as possible. If you have an interest in getting involved in Heart Day, please feel free to contact Devin and Sean at firstname.lastname@example.org