Cardiovascular disease, which includes heart disease and stroke, is the leading health threat to American women over the age of 40. With community education as an important part of our mission, the Overlook Medical Center Community Health Department developed the Women’s Heart Awareness Program, an innovative initiative to increase public understanding of heart disease in women. Since 2005, we’ve partnered with the American Heart Association’s Go Red Campaign, which also helps raise awareness of this deadly disease.
Most women do not know the heart disease symptoms unique to them. In fact, over three-quarters of the female population served by our facilities may be at risk for a first heart attack, but only a relatively small percentage may know it. The Women’s Heart Awareness Program and the Go Red Campaign have educated thousands of women on the warning signs and risk factors for heart disease. In addition, primary care physicians continually refer their female patients directly to our program for evaluation, if a thorough cardiac assessment is desired.
Our panel of speakers and health educators has decades of cardiac care and nursing experience as well as educational outreach training. Often accompanied by Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute cardiac care physicians, they speak at health fairs, Liberty Science Center programs, mall-sponsored community health events, community group meetings and forums for health care professionals. Cholesterol and blood pressure screenings and body fat analyses are often offered with the lectures, and our staff monitors individuals with abnormal results.
The Women’s Heart Awareness Program at Overlook Medical is a past winner of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN) Marsh Community Service Award for Clinical Excellence and Community Outreach.