Teaching the World About Multiple Myeloma

Cynthia Chmielewski is a multiple myeloma hero for many around the world.

Cynthia Chmielewski is a multiple myeloma hero for many around the world. Chmielewski was a former 5th-grade science teacher whose own myeloma diagnosis in July 2008 changed the course of her life forever.

Chmielewski started her myeloma journey using the old paradigm of “doctor knows best” and blindly followed doctors’ orders. After some time, her treatment required that she quit her beloved teaching job.

As a lifelong learner and teacher, Chmielewski started educating herself and realized that she and other patients needed to be well-informed to obtain better outcomes. She realized she could use her love of science, her passion for teaching and her innate curiosity to teach others about multiple myeloma in unique ways. She became known as @MyelomaTeacher on Twitter, sharing the information she was learning with a broader community and becoming one of the top Tweeters at major academic conferences, such as the American Society of Hematology (ASH).

Chmielewski is a well-known advocate for patients with myeloma, serving on many pharmaceutical patient advocacy boards. Additionally, Chmielewski serves on a Mayo Clinic R01 grant committee.

In 2018, she was tapped by the HealthTree Foundation to become director of HealthTree University to create an online video curriculum about multiple myeloma, helping patients and caregivers learn more about the disease. Under her direction, HealthTree University now has 41 courses and over 730 video lessons taught by 136 myeloma experts. Each video includes sophisticated production, with a discussion by a myeloma expert and animations with voiceovers to help patients with myeloma better retain the information. Each class is followed with quiz questions so learners can self-assess their retention. It is an ever-growing body of knowledge for both patients newly diagnosed with myeloma or more experienced with the disease, in addition to caregivers.

Chmielewski created the HealthTree University for Multiple Myeloma curriculum in an orderly way, identifying key concepts that patients needed to understand, from myeloma basics, such as how to build a myeloma care team, to more complex topics, such as myeloma genetics and “Know Your Therapy” myeloma units. To keep the curriculum updated, Chmielewski attends key myeloma conferences such as the International Myeloma Workshop, the European Hematology Association, ASH and others, where she interviews experts on the ever-changing landscape of myeloma to keep the curriculum updated.

HealthTree University is now one of the foundation’s most popular programs, receiving over 382,900 views, with 17,735 hours watched. With a globally viewed program, Chmielewski is a myeloma hero to hundreds of thousands of viewers around the world.

For more news on cancer updates, research and education, don’t forget to subscribe to CURE®’s newsletters here.