Healing with Empathy, Acceptance, Respect and inTegrity


To serve as a constant reminder for students of why they were called into service as physicians.


Project HEART was launched at the beginning of the 2006-2007 school year at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine. Dr. Isaac Wood, Associate Dean of Student Activities at VCU SoM, thought that students needed to be reminded of why they came to medical school. He felt that students often forgot what drew them to medicine because of the difficult curriculum during the four years of medical school.


In a ceremony during orientation week for first year medical students, each student receives a quilted heart that is small enough to fit in a pocket. These hearts were begun by the Sisters of the Yam and sewn closed by faculty from the School of Medicine after placing their own name on a slip of paper inside the heart. The students were placed into small groups that met regularly to serve as support systems as they faced the inevitable challenges of the years ahead.


Sisters of the YamEdit

The Sisters of the Yam is Richmond's first African American quilting guild. This group of local African-American women use the art of traditional quilting as a metaphor for healing as they recover from personal losses. The group takes its name from a book by noted Black feminist scholar Bell Hooks, The Sisters of the Yam: Black Women and Self-Recovery.

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