American Heart Month is well on its way and the past few days have been a true testament of how through partnerships and combined efforts, messaging about awareness of heart disease can reach the masses.
Leaders from the ACC were in New York City for Fashion Week to attend and support The Heart Truth's Red Dress Collection 2013 fashion show. Through a public-private partnership, the College and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) joined together to support women's heart health through the fashion show. It was a tremendous success and before the show, the ACC hosted a first-ever Women’s Cardiovascular Health Symposium featuring US Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin, MD, MBA; NHLBI Director Gary Gibbons, MD; Million Hearts Executive Director Janet Wright, MD, FACC; Brigham's and Women Health Care President Elizabeth Nabel, MD, FACC and other ACC and cardiovascular health leaders.
It was a town hall-style symposium with great conversation, and focused on ways health care providers, patients and consumer groups can work together to support the goal of reducing heart disease among women and collectively advance the fight against heart disease. In addition, Dr. Nabel, the former head of NHLBI, provided an intriguing glimpse into the decade-long history of the Red Dress Collection Fashion Show, which is a partnership between fashion leaders—including top designers, models, and celebrities — who have demonstrated their support for the issue of women and heart disease by participating in The Heart Truth’s Red Dress Collections at New York’s Fashion Week annually since 2002. She also noted the history of the campaign and how every woman can relate to a red dress, making it a powerful symbol in the fight against this deadly disease. The red dress has come to serve as a red alert to convey the message that “Heart Disease Doesn't Care What You Wear—It's the #1 Killer of Women.” In addition, Dr. Nabel commended the NHLBI’s partners and stressed how partnering with Diet Coke and now the ACC has enabled the campaign to reach millions of patients and elevate awareness of heart disease as the nation's leading killer.
Immediately following the symposium, the Red Dress Fashion Show began and included several big-name celebrities, which was exciting to be a part of and watch. New this year was the first non-celebrity, Cindy Parsons, who received a standing ovation, and was a participant in the "Follow the Fifty" campaign, a Heart Truth community grant program. Be sure to check out photos from the show here and you can also watch a video of the fashion show via CardioSmart’s Facebook page.
Aside from the excitement of the Red Dress Fashion Show, this week another great accomplishment took place on CardioSmart, ACC’s patient portal. I’m excited to announce that CardioSmart.org rolled out its revamped collection of digital tools and resources designed to help individuals prevent, treat, and manage cardiovascular disease. The updated new site includes more than 30 robust cardiovascular condition centers, available in English and Spanish, that guide patients through each stage of their journey including causes, symptoms, and treatments. Users can personalize their page by identifying topic areas of interest and by saving noteworthy news or questions to ask their doctor to their dashboard. CardioSmart.org tools such as Find a Drug, Preparing for Your Next Appointment and Ask an Expert enhance the patient-provider relationship. Users can set goals with their care team and track progress using our weight, waist, blood pressure, and activity trackers and our heart risk, BMI and cholesterol calculators. Users can also connect with peers on our online communities, take heart healthy challenges, earn CardioSmart points and spend them in our CardioSmart Store. I encourage you to look around the new site, and let us know what you think! Congrats to the teams who have worked tirelessly over the past year to make CardioSmart even more beneficial to our patients.
What an exciting time for the ACC! I never thought attending New York Fashion Week would be an activity I’d do as ACC’s President (in addition to carrying the Olympic torch), but it goes to show to always expect the unexpected. I’m thrilled to have been a part of it and am excited for the future!
Top: ACC Board of Trustees Member Mary Walsh, MD, FACC, myself, and CardioSmart Chief Medical Expert JoAnne M. Foody, MD, FACC before the first-ever Women’s Cardiovascular Health Symposium.
Middle: Million Hearts Executive Director Janet Wright, MD, FACC, my daughter Roula, and myself ready for the start of the Red Dress Fashion Show.
Bottom: Cardiovascular experts spoke during the ACC Women's Cardiovascular Health Symposium ahead of the fashion show.