August 28, 1998

Vanderbilt set to host ‘Heart Walk’ to benefit research, education

Vanderbilt set to host 'Heart Walk' to benefit research, education

Thousands of walkers will hoof it for heart disease through the Vanderbilt University and Medical Center campus on Sunday, Sept. 20.

Vanderbilt is the host this year for the American Heart Walk, an American Heart Association event that raises money for heart disease and stroke research, public and professional education and community service programs. The Heart Walk also raises public awareness about heart disease and stroke as well as the heart-healthy benefits of walking.

"Heart disease is largely a phenomenon of the 20th Century as lifespans have increased and we now live long enough to develop heart disease," said Dr. Douglas E. Vaughan, associate professor of Medicine and Pharmacology and president of the local AHA board.

"Over the past 30 years, we have cut the death rate from heart disease by nearly 50 percent. That success is due largely to increased education and awareness and changes in lifestyle, but it's also significantly influenced by research in the basic mechanisms that underlie heart disease. We are at a point where we can imagine that we may eradicate heart disease in the 21st Century. To do that, we have to have the support of the American Heart Association."

Dr. Harry R. Jacobson, Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs, noted that VUMC's partnership with the AHA is already well-established. About $1.4 million of the money raised through AHA activities such as the American Heart Walk supports heart disease and stroke research being done by VUMC investigators.

"Vanderbilt is proud to contribute to this important event as its host and also by fielding a large corporate team of walkers," Jacobson said. "As the largest private employer in Middle Tennessee, there's no reason Vanderbilt shouldn't have the greatest representation of any participating company, and I encourage everyone to get involved."

Most Heart Walk participants are part of company teams. Walkers raise money by asking family, friends, co-workers and others to sponsor their walk with a donation.

The Heart Walk will begin at 2 p.m. in Parking Lot 42 across from the Dayani Center and will follow four- and two-mile routes through the medical center and university campuses.

Registration will begin at 1 p.m.

The Heartthrobs, a band including Vanderbilt cardiology specialists, will entertain before the walk begins. Massage therapists will be on hand to offer quick pre- and post-walk neck rubs. There also will be activities for children, including face-painting and a "Moonwalk" provided by the YMCA.

In preparation for the walk, a special Vanderbilt team captain kickoff will be held in the University Club on Friday, Aug. 18.

Recruitment leaders to head up the Vanderbilt walking team effort have been identified. They include Darlene Lewis, associate vice chancellor for Human Relations; Norman B. Urmy, executive vice president for Clinical Affairs; Marsha N. Casey, chief executive officer of Vanderbilt University Hospital; Dr. John S. Sergent, chief medical officer of Vanderbilt Medical Group; and Dr. James K. Geraughty, president of Vanderbilt Health Plans.

To learn more about the American Heart Walk or to get involved, call the American Heart Association at 327-0885. Tell them you want to be a part of the Vanderbilt team, and the AHA will send a packet of information.