TransWeb (www.transweb.org) is a nonprofit educational web site serving the world transplant community since 1994. TransWeb features real people's experiences, the top 10 myths about donation, a donation quiz, frequently asked questions with answers, as well as educational reference and videos of U.S. and World Transplant Games. For adults and teens, TransWeb features Give Life: The Transplant Journey a multimedia trip through the donation and transplantation process.
History of TransWeb
In December of 1994, when the World Wide Web was just catching on and Netscape 1.0 was introduced, a group within Michigan Transplant decided to develop a website as a public service. The initial development group became the TransWeb editorial board and TransWeb was launched January 21, 1995.
The TransWeb team sought and received grant funding to allow ongoing development and enhancement of TransWeb. Over the years, TransWeb has received numerous awards, most notably being designated as one of the top five health and medicine sites in the world, by Popular Science, and a public service award from the National Kidney Foundation, in recognition of TransWeb's webcast of the 1998 U.S. Transplant Games. In addition, such esteemed publications as Britannica Online (i.e. the web version of Encyclopedia Brittanica), the New York Times on the Web, CNN Interactive direct their readers to TransWeb for further information on transplantation and donation. TransWeb was also featured in The Lancet.
The Transplant Games are Olympic-style competitions for transplant recipients, designed to draw attention to the success of transplantation and the need for organ donors. By assembling a team of volunteer photographers, audio interviewers, writers, and programmers and providing daily Internet coverage of these events, TransWeb helps to spread that message. Since sending a three-person team to report on the 1996 U.S. Transplant Games in Salt Lake City, TransWeb has created 11 webcasts from transplant-related events around the world; most recently, the 2006 Transplant Games webcast, direct from Louisville, Kentucky.
In 1996, TransWeb received a grant from the Division of Transplantation (Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration) to create an educational web site for a younger audience. The Transplant Journey (www.transweb.org/journey) takes the visitor on a trip through the kidney transplant process, with text, photos, medical illustrations, a full glossary, and audio. In December 1997, The Journey was launched as part of Vice President Al Gore's national donation initiative.
In 1999, TransWeb, along with partners at The Transplantation Society of Michigan, The Survey Research Center at the Institute for Social Research (at University of Michigan), and TransCom Media, received a $900,000 three-year grant from HRSA's Division of Transplantation to study the effectiveness of combining multimedia education, donor registration, and family notification into one Internet-based effort, where the educational component is Give Life: The Transplant Journey, which is told from the donor family's perspective. This grant was part of a $13 million program announced by Vice President Gore, in which TransWeb's was the only Internet-based project to receive funding. Medical illustrations, explanatory graphics, and other artwork and design for The Journey was provided by the TransWeb staff artist, Matt Wimsatt.
In 2002, TransWeb, with partners at Thomas Jefferson University and the Institute for Social Research, again received a 4-year grant from the Division of Transplantation. This $1.02 million grant is part of Secretary Thompson's Organ Donation Initiative, and the project is titled "Targeted Intervention to Increase Living Kidney Donation."
History of the Editorial Board
TransWeb has been governed by the TransWeb board comprised of University of Michigan transplant professionals. The board provided guidance on content, fundraising, long range planning and oversight of the TransWeb site. The original team included Jim Dean (senior programmer analyst, Organ Transplantation Information System, Michigan Transplant) Robert Garypie (organ preservation specialist, Michigan Transplant) Eleanor Jones (webmaster/editor for TransWeb) Alan Leichtman, MD (transplant nephrologist, Associate Professor, Nephrology - Internal Medicine) Robert Merion, MD (transplant surgeon, Associate Professor, General Surgery), and Jeffrey Punch, MD (transplant surgeon, Assistant Professor, General Surgery).
Responsibility for maintaining the TransWeb website recently shifted within the University of Michigan to the Transplant Center. The Transplant Center strives to maintain the strengths of TransWeb and continues to look to the original team for guidance and input.
TransWeb continues to achieve its mission: 1) To provide information about donation and transplantation to the general public in order to improve organ and tissue procurement efforts worldwide; 2) To provide transplant patients and families world wide with information specifically dealing with transplant-related issues and concerns.