March 17, 2000

New symposium established to benefit women’s heart programs

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LifeFlight is relocating one helicopter’s base of operations to Bedford County Medical Center. (photo by Anne Rayner)

New symposium established to benefit women's heart programs

The momentum is building for the Women's Cardiovascular Center at the Vanderbilt Page-Campbell Heart Institute.

A recent gift to the Institute from Ann F. Eisenstein will further women's heart research, education, patient care and outreach projects.

The Ann F. Eisenstein Women's Cardiovascular Symposium was established to educate women about the misperceptions surrounding heart disease. It will also serve a vital role in providing caregivers with the latest findings regarding treatment and prevention options for women.

"Each year, more women die from cardiovascular disease than from the next 16 causes of death combined, including all forms of cancer," says Dr. Rose M. Robertson, professor of Medicine and president-elect of the American Heart Association.

"The American Heart Association estimates that nearly one in two women will die of heart diseases or stroke. Unfortunately, too many women do not understand the magnitude of the risks posed by cardiovascular disease and that many cases of coronary heart disease are preventable."

Robertson says that the establishment of this symposium will serve as a cornerstone in the growth of the Women's Cardiovascular Center.

Eisenstein has been a heart patient at Vanderbilt for more than 40 years. She says her overwhelmingly positive experience at the medical center as well as her knowledge that most women do not know of nor understand their risks for heart disease, put her in the role of an advocate for such educational programming.

"I am an example of what can happen if given the proper care," Eisenstein says. "I hope that other women will learn about heart disease and become aware of the fact that they are very susceptible to this.

"I wanted in some way to show my appreciation and give others a chance at receiving the care and education I did."

Eisenstein says it will take time to address the many misunderstandings that women and health professionals have about heart disease in women.

But she knows that Vanderbilt is taking steps in the right direction.

"Vanderbilt has made the commitment," Eisenstein says. "I just want women and all health care professionals to do the same."

The symposium will bring leading specialists in women's cardiovascular issues to Vanderbilt to confer and collaborate with Vanderbilt physicians and scientists as well as interact with the public to present both research/treatment findings as well as educational programming.

The first symposium will be held March 23 at 10 a.m. at the Jewish Community Center. "Hormones and Cardiovascular Disease" will be the keynote address by Dr. C. Noel Bairey Merz, associate professor of clinical medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Medicine and director, Preventive and Rehabilitative Cardiac Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Vanderbilt has also received funding from a pharmaceutical company to launch a new program of cardiovascular care for women including community activities, free screenings and physician symposiums.

Vanderbilt's new focus on this area results from research reported in recent years which has pointed out that previous treatment in women with cardiovascular diseases has differed from that in men.

This endowment is another key component in Vanderbilt's push to increase awareness among area providers and the public about the differences between the male and female heart and to heighten recognition that symptoms of heart disease may be quite different in men and women.

For more information or for reservations call 936-0301.