WASHINGTON, April 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Sister to Sister, the first organization focused solely on women's heart disease detection, education and prevention, today announced the launch of Screen Us Where We Are, a lifesaving campaign working to ensure all women in the US are receiving basic cardiovascular screenings wherever they seek primary care. Sister to Sister will be joined by the iconic first plus-sized supermodel Emme, to engage with women, support them in their journeys to heart health and advance the Screen Us Where We Are mission.
Through Screen Us Where We Are, some of our nation's top cardiologists, senior members of Congress and other stakeholders are uniting to call upon providers, insurers and policymakers to ensure all women have the opportunity to receive cardiovascular screenings and information wherever they seek primary care. Studies show that nearly one in five women have come to rely on their OB/GYN for all of their primary care needs, and yet only 1/3 of women recall having even discussed heart disease with their OB/GYN. Meanwhile, many other women only seek care for their most immediate health needs by turning to pharmacy-based clinics and urgent care facilities when they are sick. Also, while community health centers are providing many women across the US with access to primary care, it's important to ensure that basic, preventive heart screenings are routinely part of that patient engagement.
"Heart disease is the #1 killer of women in the US, taking the lives of more women than all forms of cancer combined," said Irene Pollin, MSW, PhD (Hon) and founder and chairman of Sister to Sister. "Enough is enough. The Screen Us Where We Are campaign is proud to partner with policymakers, medical experts and women across the country to demand the medical community provide the necessary information, screening and support women need to lead a heart healthy lifestyle, wherever they seek primary care."
The Screen Us Where We Are campaign was launched to fix the fundamental failure of our health care system confronting far too many women: where many of them go for primary care is not a place that currently initiates early, preventive screening for heart disease. Emme will be on hand to help lead the charge, which includes a petition women (and men) can sign at ScreenUs.org. For more than two decades as a supermodel, TV personality, brand spokesperson, author and wellness advocate, Emme has promoted wellness and encouraged women of all ages to connect mind, body and spirit.
"I am thrilled and honored to be part of this lifesaving campaign," said Emme. "Women, especially working women, and moms like me, are busier and more stressed than ever. The last person most women think about is themselves, so many assume that all of their primary and preventive care needs are being met when they see a doctor or nurse. However, this reasonable expectation does not always square with the facts, and too many providers and insurers are coming up short. We must demand and provoke a paradigm shift across the entire health care community so that no more hearts slip through the cracks."
Today, coronary disease kills almost 300,000 American women every year. In economic terms, heart disease and stroke among all Americans – women and men – cost more than $312.6 billion-a-year on health care and lost productivity. Basic, preventive cardiovascular screenings can and will reduce the social and economic burden of heart disease in this country. Making that screening a routine part of a woman's visit to any primary care provider must be part of the solution.
"Heart disease has been a silent killer of women for far too long. Despite popular myth, the warning signs and symptoms for the disease in women are much different and far more subtle than that of a man," explains Sister to Sister partner, Dr. JoAnne M. Foody, medical director of Brigham and Women's Hospital's Cardiovascular Wellness Service. "Preventive screening and education about heart disease can and should be a routine part of a woman's visit to any doctor or nurse who provides what amounts to primary care. I applaud Sister to Sister for stepping up to demand the medical community close these dangerous gaps."
Often, the first step toward motivating a woman to make the necessary lifestyle modifications is to identify and inform her about her areas of risk through a cardiovascular screening. Through relatively simple lifestyle changes, a woman can lower her risk for developing heart disease by up to 82 percent. Additionally, through its website, www.SistertoSister.org, and beyond, Sister to Sister serves as a resource for information, support and incentives for women, which are essential components for supporting someone in their quest to remain heart healthy. And the organization will soon be offering an updated, state-of-the-art cardiovascular wellness tool for 21st century women on-the-go that can be used to ensure they are adopting and maintaining healthy lifestyle habits, such as eating right, getting plenty of exercise and managing stress.
About Sister to Sister
Sister to Sister: The Women's Heart Health Foundation founded by Irene Pollin, MSW, PhD (Hon) in 1999, is the first organization focused solely on women's heart disease detection, education, and prevention. For 15 years, Sister to Sister has served as the leading facilitator of in-person heart-healthy evaluations, and has provided 100,000 free cardiovascular screenings with immediate results and counseling to women of all ages, ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds. Sister to Sister's fight to prevent heart disease in women is not over, as 1 in 4 women are still dying of the disease despite the fact that it is preventable up to 82 percent of the time.
In collaboration with leading medical experts and organizations, Sister to Sister develops national campaigns, cause-based marketing programs, multilingual educational materials and infographics, and research papers to motivate women, policymakers and the health care providers to invest more of their time and resources in heart disease prevention. Sister to Sister's latest campaign, Screen Us Where We Are, launched in April 2014 to urge the medical community to ensure all women are being provided basic, preventive cardiovascular screenings at any health care setting that provides what amounts to primary care.
For more information about Sister to Sister, visit www.sistertosister.org.
With a career that spans more than two decades as a leading voice and face in the fashion industry, Emme is the iconic world's first plus-sized supermodel. With the conviction that beauty comes in all healthy shapes and sizes, Emme has paved the way and given women the platform to feel beautiful and empowered through her online community - EmmeNation. Her roles include TV personality, model, mom, author, brand spokesperson, creative director of her clothing lines, lecturer and globally recognized advocate for women's wellness, positive body image and self-esteem. Emme is a board member to Hearts of Gold and Ophelia's Place, an ambassador to The National Eating Disorders Association, and donates her time to the Girl Scouts of America and Sister to Sister.
For more information about Emme, visit www.emmenation.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook @EmmeNation.
For more information about Screen Us Where We Are, visit: ScreenUs.org
Media Contact: David Marin
SOURCE Sister to Sister