Grants Promote Women’s Heart Health for Underserved

The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease announced July 16 that it has awarded eight grants to hospitals in underserved communities to provide support and education to female heart patients.

The National Hospital Alliance grants were made possible by a grant from Edwards Lifesciences Foundation through its Every Heartbeat Mattersinitiative, WomenHeart. The alliance is the nation’s only partnership program between WomenHeart and progressive hospitals committed to advancing women’s heart health and gender specific cardiovascular care.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women, killing more women each year that all cancers combined. Psychosocial and emotional support, coupled with educational resources, has been shown to have a dramatically positive impact on patient outcomes of women living with heart disease. Edwards Lifesciences Foundation’s Every Heartbeat Mattersinitiative aims to educate, screen and treat 1 million underserved people by 2020 to reduce the global burden of heart valve disease and is partnering with WomenHeart to educate underserved women in the U.S.
“The support of the Edwards Lifesciences Foundation allows WomenHeart to continue advancing women’s cardiovascular health with the most at-risk women in our country,” said Mary McGowan, Chief Executive Officer, WomenHeart. “Free patient support and education are the keys to empowering women living with heart disease to take charge of their health and to diminish morbidity and mortality in these high risk populations. We are grateful to be able to expand our outreach to save women’s lives.”

Applicants for the grants were selected based on criteria involving nationally recognized measures for poverty, underserved, and of high-risk communities such as African American women, Latina women and Native American women. African-American women have a higher risk for heart disease than other racial and ethnic groups and are less aware of their risk factors.

The recipients are:

– Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
– Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center, North Chicago, Illinois
– Charleston Area Medical Center, Charleston, West Virginia
– Chickasaw Nation Medical Center, Ada, Oklahoma
– Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina
– Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, New York
– Penn Heart and Vascular Center, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
– Regional Medical Center of Acadiana, Lafayette, Louisiana

Each selected hospital will increase its capacity to advance women’s heart health in its community. Two women heart patients will be sent for advanced volunteer training at the WomenHeart Science & Leadership Symposium at Mayo Clinic to start a free peer-led WomenHeart Support Network. The WomenHeart National Hospital Alliance was founded in 2012 and has 30 member hospitals.

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