Womenheart Announces 8 National Hospital Alliance Membership Grant Recipients To Advance Women's Heart Health In Underserved Communities

Hospitals to receive life-changing program for women living with heart disease

Jul 16, 2015, 14:09 ET from WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease

WASHINGTON, July 16, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Thanks to a generous grant from the Edwards Lifesciences Foundation through its Every Heartbeat Matters initiative, WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease announced today that it has awarded eight National Hospital Alliance membership grants to hospitals in underserved communities to provide much-needed support and education to their women heart patients. The WomenHeart National Hospital Alliance (NHA) 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 by WomenHeart to have a dramatically positive impact on patient outcomes of women living with heart disease. Edwards Lifesciences Foundation's Every Heartbeat Matters initiative 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. 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," said Mary McGowan, Chief Executive Officer, WomenHeart.

The eight hospitals were selected through a competitive application process. Applicants were selected based on criteria focusing on the percentage of patients meeting nationally recognized measures for poverty, underserved, and of high-risk communities such as African American women, Latina women and Native American women. The goal of the program is to expand WomenHeart's life-saving patient programs of education and support to more women who may otherwise not be able to receive these services.

The eight NHA membership grant recipients are:

Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center, Milwaukee, WI

  • Nearly a third of women heart patients served are African-American, and African-American women have a higher risk for heart disease than other racial and ethnic groups and are less aware of their risk factors.
  • Nearly a quarter of patients live below the poverty line.

Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center, North Chicago, IL

  • A first-of-its-kind partnership incorporates facilities, services and resources of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs-North Chicago, VA Medical Center and the Department of Defense-Naval Health Clinic Great Lakes.
  • Studies show that Veterans and others with chronic PTSD are at higher risk for heart disease.
  • Among women Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan era conflicts, 20% have been diagnosed with PTSD related to combat or sexual assault traumatic events.
  • 26.48% of women Veterans under FHCC care are at risk for heart disease related to elevated cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
  • First NHA member to serve women Veterans.

Charleston Area Medical Center, Charleston, WV

  • West Virginia ranks 49th nationally in cardiovascular related deaths for women.
  • Women in West Virginia have a 25% higher chance of dying from heart disease than the national average.
  • Nearly 18% of the population in this 'Stroke Belt' state lives below the poverty level with limited access to cardiovascular services.

Chickasaw Nation Medical Center, Ada, OK

  • Located within the 13-county geographical boundary of the Chickasaw Nation in southcentral Oklahoma.
  • The medical center primarily serves Native American patients (97.1%), most of whom live in rural communities where cardiovascular services are not as readily available.
  • 17% of patients live below the poverty level.
  • The Chickasaw Nation Medical Center is the first NHA member dedicated to serving the Native American community.

Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC

  • Serves a significant number of underserved women heart patients.
  • Nearly half of patients – 39% – are African-American and at increased risk for heart disease.
  • 19% of patient live below the poverty line.
  • Serves some Native American patients.

Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY

  • 30% of patients live below the poverty level – well above the 21% average for New York City as a whole.
  • 60% are Hispanic, a population at increased risk for heart disease.
  • 39% are African-American, the population at highest risk for heart disease.
  • Supporting and educating Hispanic-American women living with heart disease aligns with WomenHeart's Hispanic Outreach Program.

Penn Heart and Vascular Center, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

  • Specialized focus on pregnancy-related cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular disease in minority women.
  • Nearly half – 44% of patients – are African-American.
  • 27% of patients live below the poverty level.  

Regional Medical Center of Acadiana, Lafayette, LA

  • In this 'Stroke Belt' state, women have a nearly 20% higher chance of dying from heart disease than the national average.
  • 19% of patients live below the poverty line.
  • Nearly a third – 32% – of patients are African-American. 

Each selected hospital will increase its capacity to advance women's heart health in its community through the many benefits of the NHA partnership with WomenHeart. Two women heart patients will be sent for advanced volunteer training at the prestigious WomenHeart Science & Leadership Symposium at Mayo Clinic to start a free peer-led WomenHeart Support Network. WomenHeart Support Networks are led by WomenHeart Champions – trained WomenHeart volunteers who are all heart disease survivors – and meet monthly at NHA member hospitals. They are free and open to all women in the community who are living with heart disease. WomenHeart Support Networks are a proven model to improve patient outcomes. In a recent survey of Support Network attendees, participants reported an enhanced quality of life, improved treatment compliance, improved ability to communicate with health care providers, increased understanding of heart disease, and improved ability to communicate and explain their condition to family members, co-workers and friends.

In addition to receiving training and technical assistance from WomenHeart to establish and maintain a WomenHeart Support Network, NHA member hospitals also have access to WomenHeart's educational materials which are reviewed and approved by its nationally renowned Scientific Advisory Council, as well as the opportunity to participate in WomenHeart's educational programs, media opportunities and professional education offerings. WomenHeart's Scientific Advisory Council also provides education about women's cardiovascular disease presented by national leaders on the issue for member hospitals' professional staff.

WomenHeart National Hospital Alliance
The WomenHeart National Hospital Alliance was founded in 2012. It is currently comprised of 30 member hospitals. It is a unique partnership between WomenHeart and member hospitals throughout the country who are dedicated to advancing women's heart health in their community. The National Hospital Alliance was developed by WomenHeart to ensure that women heart disease patients in every community have access to information, education and patient support services.

WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease
WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease is the nation's only patient- centered organization serving the 43 million American women living with or at risk for heart disease – the leading cause of death for women. WomenHeart is solely devoted to advancing women's heart health through advocacy, community education, and the nation's only patient support network for women living with heart disease. WomenHeart is both a coalition and a community of thousands of members nationwide, including women heart patients and their families, healthcare professionals, and health advocates, all committed to helping women live longer, healthier lives. To join or donate, visit www.womenheart.org.


SOURCE WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease