Class Project Helps Cancer Patients

School of Communication and Media students partnered with Hackensack University Medical Center’s John Theurer Cancer Center to create effective online storytelling chronicling a bone marrow patient’s journey from diagnosis and treatment to recovery.

Students in the Transmedia Projects classes taught by professors Beverly Peterson and Larry Weiner began working in the fall to make the Center’s website more user-friendly, especially for newly diagnosed patients. “What makes this important is the impact our students will have on the lives of cancer patients,” says Peterson. “This form of story mapping for a top national cancer center has never been done before.”

Students worked to personalize and demystify the information patients need. “They learned about the procedures and journeys of patients involved in bone marrow transplants, so that they could create a prototype built on personal stories – with an emphasis on hope and healing,” Peterson explains.

Weiner, who has battled cancer himself, notes that students interviewed Center marketing and communication directors and visited the Center to create their prototype for the website.

“They also had me as a backup resource for the treatment process, as I had recently gone through lymphoma treatment there,” he says.

This spring, according to Weiner, students were charged with turning their approved prototype into a reality.