HealthMatch calls on Apple to create a new range of ‘killer diseases’ emojis

Dear Apple and Unicode,

We are HealthMatch, a digital health company transforming how patients connect to clinical trials. By making it easier to apply to the latest public and private clinical trials happening around the world, we aim to progress life-saving treatments onto the market.

Diversity remains very low among clinical trial participants, and there is a need to engage with the next generation of patients. Millennials take a different approach to healthcare compared to older generations, which mostly comes down to technology. Gen Z’s relationship with technology also influences how they engage with healthcare, highlighting the importance of technology in advancing clinical trials and developing life-saving cures.

Apple and Unicode, this is where we need your help. We have created a series of ‘killer emojis’ illustrating America's top ten leading deaths. We are asking you to launch these emojis to encourage the next generation to engage with clinical trials and save lives by helping researchers find new and better treatments. 

Why emojis?

Over 113 million iPhone users are in the United States alone, and one billion people use Apple devices worldwide.

Emojis play a significant role in how we communicate. According to Unicode, 92% of the world’s online population uses emojis, giving these little symbols outsized importance in conveying thoughts and feelings. Their proliferation allows you to have a major impact on clinical trial awareness in younger generations.

With more awareness comes more participation of people from diverse backgrounds, which is vital to creating the best possible outcomes for treatments.  

We believe that by highlighting the most common causes of death with emojis, younger generations will realize the importance of finding new treatments - and even cures - through clinical trials. 

Conditions In The Top 10 Leading Causes of Death

According to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention [CDC], in the United States between 2019-2020, heart disease was the leading cause of death, followed by cancer and COVID-19. 

Mortality rates for the 10 leading causes of death in 2019 and 2020, according to the CDC:

Seven of the diseases (heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and influenza and pneumonia) have featured in the top 10 since 2015. Heart disease and cancer have also taken spots one and two respectively since 2015.

Around 82% of people who die from coronary heart disease are 65 or older. So, studies with Gen Z and Millennial patients may help the prevention of heart disease. This focus on preventative treatments could then be translated across all of the top 10 diseases.

Killer Disease Emojis

1. Proposal for emoji: Heart disease

Keywords: heart disease, heart, coronary, heart attack

Category: medical

2. Proposal for emoji: Cancer

Keywords: cancer

Category: medical

3. Proposal for emoji: COVID-19

Keywords: covid, covid-19, coronavirus, corona

Category: animal-bug

After: microbe

4. Proposal for emoji: Stroke

Keywords: stroke, heart disease

Category: medical

5. Proposal for emoji: Chronic lower respiratory diseases

Keywords: Chronic lower respiratory diseases, CLRD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, COPD, bronchitis, emphysema, asthma

Category: medical

6. Proposal for emoji: Alzheimer's disease

Keywords: Alzheimer's, dementia

Category: medical

7. Proposal for emoji: Diabetes

Keywords: diabetes, insulin, blood sugar 

Category: medical

8. Proposal for emoji: Influenza and pneumonia

Keywords: influenza, pneumonia, cough, flu

Category: medical

9. Proposal for emoji: Kidney disease

Keywords: kidney

Category: medical


Understanding and supporting the value of clinical trials for the next generation(s) is a greater challenge than any one person or group can tackle. We believe the platforms Apple and Unicode have access to can play an important role in influencing the next generation to sign up for trials and accelerate life-saving cures.

We hope that the emojis we created will be used globally, particularly amongst the younger generation, where trial participation is low, but there is the greatest potential to help prevent diseases.

We believe Apple and Unicode can play a part, and we write to ask for this help.

Thank you,

Manuri Gunawardena

Founder of HealthMatch


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