Health care reform may be signed into law, but for the 42 million women living with or at risk for heart disease — the leading cause of death in women — the fight continues to improve health care policy and research that will significantly impact the morbidity and mortality of all women with regard to cardiovascular disease.
Members of Congress recently heard from a group of special constituents – all women living with heart disease who have personally experienced the challenges of the health care system and who have travelled to Washington for the annual Advocacy Institute, hosted by WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease. Evan McCabe from Santa Barbara was one of those being heard on Capitol Hill this week.
Through the Advocacy Institute training program, McCabe and 36 other WomenHeart Champions – all heart disease survivors who are trained as volunteer community educators and advocates on women’s heart health issues – encouraged their representatives to support increased funding for the top 10 unanswered question in women’s cardiovascular medicine. The 2011 10Q Report: Advancing Women’s Heart Health through Improved Research, Diagnosis and Treatment, was released in a Capitol Hill briefing and then hand delivered to congressional representatives by WomenHeart Champions.
“We need to better understand why more women die from cardiovascular disease so that we can save lives!” said Evan McCabe.
Additionally, McCabe encouraged are areas’ representatives to sign on or continue to support the HEART for Women Act (S. 438) which:
Authorize grants to educate health care professionals and older women about cardiovascular disease in women
Require the FDA to enforce the regulation that clinical data reports be stratified by gender, age and racial subgroup Authorize grants to educate health care professionals and older women about cardiovascular disease in women
Expand the WISEWOMAN program, which provides heart disease and stroke prevention screening to low-income women in 20 states, to all fifty states.
“Our message is that heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States, and that Congress can do something about it,” said Evan McCabe. “While health care reform includes some provisions that help women living with heart disease, there is still much to be done.”
“These women who are suffering with this chronic and life-threatening illness are here to continue their mission of making a difference in lives of all women and women’s heart health policies,” said Lisa M. Tate, Chief Executive Office of WomenHeart.
The Advocacy Institute was held June 19-21 in Washington, DC and included a day on Capitol Hill where WomenHeart Champions met with members of their Congressional delegation to advocate for gender equity in health care, more funding for research, and better overall health care policy for women.