Posted by Hello Cool World

Case Study: Toward The Heart

22 April 2015

We have an ongoing collaboration with the Harm Reduction Program of the BC Centre for Disease Control developing a website and helping with content.

Harm Reduction Website & E-Zine

We're big advocates of harm reduction — an evidence-based approach that aims to keep people safe and minimize death, disease, and injury from at risk behaviour —and we're certainly not alone! A recent survey showed that 76% of randomly surveyed British Columbians supported harm reduction activities in their communities.

We've had an ongoing collaboration with the Harm Reduction Program of the BC Centre for Disease Control for several years now. They approached us looking for a user-friendly portal site to showcase harm reduction best practices, and provide resources and support. They also wanted to engage more effectively with service providers and work pro-actively at reducing the stigma that surrounds the field.

Toward The Heart: A Compassionate Approach to Health Care

We proposed a self-branded website that would operate in tandem with their “official” presence on, along with an e-Zine module to editorialize and send out information in a timely manner. We came up with Toward the Heart as the identity—a reference to the injection technique of always inserting a needle in the direction of blood flow— which helps convey a compassionate approach to health care. We also immediately helped set them up on Facebook and Twitter, integrating those channels with the site and providing strategic advice on its use.

“The team at HCW are remarkable at taking relatively unfocussed ideas and creating beautiful, user-friendly webpages and newsletters. The team is committed to its clients and responds rapidly to ad hoc requests. Working with HCW has allowed us to bring harm reduction knowledge and research findings in an easily accessible format to service providers and the public.”
— Jane A. Buxton MBBS, MHSc, FRCPC Physician Epidemiologist, Harm reduction lead, BCCDC

The website launched in the spring of 2012 and the Harm Reduction Program was extremely happy with the results. We went with a custom PHP build to provide a cost-effective solution featuring a simple and easy to manage CMS that we’ve developed over the years. We are using our own infrastructure to maintain the mail list and send out e-Zines, allowing us to draw upon our pre-established network of health and harm reduction contacts and expand their reach.

Ongoing Collaboration For The Cause

We continue to help write and produce more e-Zines with the goal of ensuring their content speaks to as wide an audience as possible. They’ve also commissioned new work in developing the site for additional functionality and content. We've tweaked the design and built pages to showcase a new training program for an overdose reversal medication, a harm reduction site finder that they developed internally, and more. We’ve created three new sections on the site for internal use by different committees to access and share all kinds of resources and post updates. We've just rolled out the latest page for peer engagement featuring a more robust discussion forum using the open source software, Vanilla.

Research shows harm reduction activities do not encourage substance use. In fact, they are more likely than other methods to encourage people who use drugs to start treatment.

We host and maintain the site, and are always available to assist any one-off requests that roll in. But then it's easy to be flexible for a cause we care deeply about with clients who are passionate about what they do and absolutely a dream to work with.

You can learn more about their amazing work at

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