September 16, 2010

VUMC gearing up for annual Heart Walk

VUMC gearing up for annual Heart Walk

Rain or shine, the AHA has made it easy for Vanderbilt University Medical Center employees to participate.

If you would like to join a team, visit the Nashville Heart Walk website at and click “find a team.” If you are already on a team, you can give your donation to your team captain, donate online or attend the Heart Walk Bank Day.

Bank Day is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 29, from 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Representatives from the AHA will collect donations in room 5181 B of Medical Center East.

The Heart Walk festivities begin at 8 a.m., at Campus Rec Field #2 at the corner of Natchez Trace and Children's Way. The walk begins at 10 a.m. and is about three miles.

Festivities, including music and food, continue until noon. All participants will receive a T-shirt from their team captains.

“The Heart Walk is important to Vanderbilt on several levels,” said Keith Churchwell, M.D., executive director and chief medical officer of Vanderbilt Heart and co-chair of the Heart Walk.

“It supports the Start! initiative to encourage employees to exercise, and it directly supports our research efforts.”

VUMC's goal is $330,000 toward Nashville's target of $1.35 million.

“Vanderbilt plays an important role in the success of the Heart Walk,” said Kelley Tune, AHA vice-president of the Heart Walk. “We are looking forward to a strong showing from them again this year.”

“The Heart Walk is a fun, lively event that allows all participants to exercise while raising money for a good cause,” said Vanderbilt Heart Walk co-chair, Larry Goldberg, CEO of Vanderbilt University Hospital. “I'd like to encourage everyone to participate and help us reach our goal.”

Funds raised by the Heart Walk return to Vanderbilt by way of research dollars. Vanderbilt has $5.6 million in active grants from the AHA, which is known for supporting research of junior investigators.

Since 1972, the American Heart Association has awarded more than $37 million in research grants to Vanderbilt. About 20 percent of the 2009 research grant funding from the Greater Southeast Affiliate is awarded to Vanderbilt.

In the 2009 grant cycle, 15 additional grant applications from Vanderbilt representing $1,876,850 were deemed meritorious but were not awarded due to a critical gap in funding.

“We need everyone to help the AHA raise money to help fill that gap,” said Doug Sawyer, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine.

“The AHA is our partner, supporting the most cutting-edge research of our best and brightest trainees and faculty through grants. The AHA recognizes the importance of funding new ideas from new investigators.”

If you are unable to participate in the Heart Walk, there are other ways to help. Vanderbilt Heart will hold its silent auction on Monday, Sept. 27, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in conference room 5052 of Medical Center East and will give proceeds to the AHA.

For more information about the silent auction, contact Janice Nicholas at 936-7531.

For more information on the Heart Walk, contact Ed Higgins at