Heart :: Heart for Women Act endorsed By National Health Groups

Federal legislation aimed at fighting the No. 1 killer of American women — heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases — today received the endorsement of several leading women’s heart and health care organizations.

The American Heart Association, Association of Black Cardiologists, Inc., Society for Women’s Health Research and WomenHeart: the National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease are mobilizing their millions of volunteers, members and advocates to urge Congress to pass the Heart disease Education, Analysis and Research, and Treatment (HEART) for Women Act.

The HEART for Women Act would improve the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases by educating both women and health care providers about prevention programs and the most effective treatment for women; tighten Food and Drug Administration requirements for reporting sex, race and ethnicity-based data about new medicines and devices; and expand the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s WISEWOMAN screening program for low-income, uninsured women to all 50 states. The legislation was introduced by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D- MI) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Representatives Lois Capps (D-CA) and Barbara Cubin (R-WY).

“This bill would close gaps in treatment and raise awareness among those who still think heart disease is a ‘man’s’ disease,” said Alice Jacobs, M.D., Past President, American Heart Association. “By making women’s heart health a national priority and passing the HEART for Women Act, Congress would send a powerful message to women across the country.”

“The Association of Black Cardiologists, Inc. (ABC) is proud to partner with this coalition of leaders to bring awareness to the devastation of cardiovascular disease in women,” said Dr. B. Waine Kong, CEO, Association of Black Cardiologists, Inc. “We believe that inclusion of women in science-based research, community outreach, and professional education is paramount to the obliteration of this deadly disease.”

“We know that heart disease affects women and men differently, but research has yet to deliver optimal screenings and treatments for women,” said Phyllis Greenberger, M.S.W., President and CEO, Society for Women’s Health Research. “Understanding of the issue, even among doctors, is still not where it should be. As the president’s budget for health and research declines, we need Congress to take action.”

“Families and communities nationwide have a lot at stake as the spotlight on women’s heart health intensifies,” said Roni Posner, Interim CEO, WomenHeart. “The passage of this Act, now, will help to save and improve millions of women’s lives.”

Thousands of women across the country are signing red dress paper dolls in a nationwide show of support for the HEART for Women Act. The dolls will be linked together and delivered to lawmakers in Washington, D.C. this spring to send a powerful, unified message to Congress: support the HEART for Women Act and help women live healthier, stronger lives.

Every minute, one woman in this country will die from heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. Overall, these diseases claim the lives of over 480,000 American women each year — more than the next five causes of death combined. Nearly half of all African-American women (49 percent) have some form of cardiovascular disease, compared to 35 percent of white women. According to a recent American Heart Association survey, fewer than one in five physicians knew that more women than men die each year from cardiovascular disease.

In addition to the American Heart Association, Association of Black Cardiologists, Society for Women’s Health Research and WomenHeart: the National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease, the HEART for Women Act is also supported by: the American College of Cardiology, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Osteopathic Association, Association of Women’s Health Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, Association of Women’s Heart Programs, Black Women’s Health Imperative, Business and Professional Women/USA, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, General Federation of Women’s Clubs, National Research Center for Women & Families, US Forum of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International/Key Women Educators, and Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

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