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Last modified: Friday, December 15, 2006

IUPUI informatics students, teacher document the 'miracle' of organ donations

Dec. 15, 2006

INDIANAPOLIS -- They were asked to tell a story from the heart, a tale perhaps involving the human heart.

That's what Edgar Huang, Ja'Juan Shirley, Chris Francis and Matt Turner set out to do more than a year ago when they were approached by the Indiana Organ Procurement Organization (IOPO) to produce a video about organ donations, told from the perspectives of donors' families, recipients and the nurses at Clarian Health Partners' Methodist Hospital.

It became an all-hands effort for Shirley, Francis and Turner, media arts and science students at the School of Informatics at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. They pooled their skills under the supervision of associate professor Huang to produce Your Name is Miracle.

Their work has garnered a 2007 American Association of Critical-Care Nurses Circle of Excellence Award, a program recognizing Web-based, print and broadcast media excellence in the portrayal of healthcare providers, especially acute and critical care nurses and their contributions to patients and their families.

The School of Informatics team will be recognized next May at the AACCN's annual National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition in Atlanta.

"It started as a class project in advanced video," said Huang. "But it became immediately clear what they were creating was more than a video project -- it was a rare opportunity to learn of the great need for organ donations and to share the stories of those whose lives have been affected by these life-giving gifts. I am proud of what our students have produced."

Shirley and Francis are seniors at the School of Informatics; Turner earned his undergraduate degree a year ago.

The 16-minute video includes poignant interviews with donors' families, IOPO, and transplant coordinators and nurses. One segment focuses on a Methodist nurse whose husband was critically injured in a motorcycle accident; long before the wreck they had agreed should they would be organ donors if such a situation arose. In another vignette, a transplant nurse recalls his encounter with an organ recipient whose last name is "Miracle."

"The enthusiasm and creativity of the students energized us all," said Cassie Latta, the IOPO in-house donation coordinator for Methodist Hospital. "Their skills and experience with creating communication tools, brought the personal stories to life, and you can feel that when you watch the video. Personal stories like these help people connect to real life experiences of others, and it helps to motivate them to become donors."

IOPO ( is the nonprofit health service dedicated to advancing organ, tissue and eye donation throughout Indiana. Last year, more than 25,000 Americans were saved through organ transplants. However, more than 90,000 people, including more than 600 Indiana residents, are currently waiting for life-saving organ transplants.

Your Name is Miracle can be viewed at

More information about the School of Informatics media arts and science program and other degree programs is at