Winthrop-University Hospital is dedicated to helping women fight heart disease. Now, as a member of the WomenHeart National Hospital Alliance – a program of WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease – Winthrop joins a coalition of hospitals throughout the country who are committed to advancing women’s heart health. An important part of this commitment is educating the community, and recently, Winthrop held a seminar called “Telling Our Stories: Living with Heart Disease & Stroke,” which brought Women- Heart ambassadors and their cardiologists together to speak on their experiences dealing with heart disease and recovery. More than 100 people attended the event.
“My heart event woke me up, and I want to spread that feeling of awareness.”
“This event was a success in bringing the community, ambassadors and healthcare providers together in one forum to address how we can improve heart health in women,” said Barbara George, EdD, RCEP, MSN, AGNP-C, Director of the Center for Cardiovascular Lifestyle Medicine at Winthrop.
The seminar was part of a collaborative effort between Winthrop’s Division of Cardiology, Winthrop’s Women’s Wellness ‘Inspiring Women’ Series and WomenHeart, and gave WomenHeart ambassadors Susan Kayser and Barbara Ghyll, both survivors of heart disease, the opportunity to share their personal stories in the hopes that doing so will help other women.
“Something very negative in my life turned into something extremely positive,” said Ms. Ghyll, a retired educator, of the stroke she suffered. “As serious and devastating as that event was, it is so positive now to be educating people in an effort to help them.”
“My heart event woke me up, and I want to spread that feeling of awareness,” said Ms. Kayser, a retired nurse.
(L.-R.) Wendy Drewes, BSN, RN, CCRC, Cardiology Research and Cardiovascular Lifestyle Wellness Coordinator; Cardiologist David Busch, DO; Susan Kayser and Barbara Ghyll, WomenHeart ambassadors; Kevin Marzo, MD, Chief of Cardiology at Winthrop; and Barbara George, EdD, RCEP, MSN, AGNP-C, Director, Center for Cardiovascular Lifestyle Medicine.
Both women’s cardiologists, David Busch, DO, and Kevin Marzo, MD, Winthrop’s Chief of Cardiology, joined them in the evening of education.
“The Division of Cardiology is proud to be part of this exciting new hospital alliance which will allow us to continue our leadership role as being one of the top institutes in the delivery of cardiovascular care for women,” said Dr. Marzo. “The evening solidified our commitment to women’s heart health beyond hospital walls by continuing to grow its support for women where they live and work.”
The event also kicked off a peer-led support network, WomenHeart of Winthrop- University Hospital, which is open to all women living with heart disease. The group meets at Winthrop on the second Wednesday of every month. Led by Support Network
Coordinators Ms. Kayser and Ms. Ghyll, the network offers women the opportunity to discuss various heart health-related topics and connect with experts and others coping with the same condition. Guest speakers give brief talks on various heart-related top- ics such as diet, exercise, atrial fibriliation, stress and other risk factors. A recent meeting featured members of Winthrop’s Behavioral Health clinical team who addressed mental health and stress management.
Additionally, Ms. Ghyll and Ms. Kayser are actively involved with Winthrop’s “Red Bags of Courage” distribution, which includes a hand-knit scarf and educational materials for every hospitalized female patient admitted with a cardiac event.
“Having real cardiac female patients meet- ing with the hospitalized women can help with the transition of care and reduce anxiety associated with discharge,” said Dr. George.
WomenHeart and Winthrop will also be actively assisting with community outreach efforts, working with faith-based organizations and other community based groups on Long Island to spread awareness of heart health, particularly in underserved communities.
For more information about heart health at Winthrop, call 1-866-WINTHROP or visit www.winthrop.org.