Prevalence of cardiovascular disease in women
According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death for women. One in three women dies from the disease each year, and in the United States, more than half of all deaths due to heart disease are women (Lee & Foody, 2008). In contrast, one in 31 women dies from breast cancer each year (“Facts about heart disease in women, n.d.). Research also shows that women have a higher mortality rate following a first heart attack than men: of those who experience a myocardial infarction at age 45 and up, 26% of women and 19% of men die within one year, and 47% of women and 36% of men die within five years (Cobble, 2014). Furthermore, “only 55 percent of women realize heart disease is their No. 1 killer and less than half know what are considered healthy levels for cardiovascular risk factors like blood pressure and cholesterol” (“Facts about heart disease in women, n.d.). It’s also true that heart disease is not just a disease of age: for women aged 45-64, heart disease is the second-leading cause of death, and for women aged 25 to 44, it is the third leading cause of death (Lee & Foody, 2008). The reduction of risk factors through patient support, including lifestyle management and education, has been shown to be most responsible for the decrease in overall cardiac-related deaths over time (Cobble, 2014).
Proposed NYU Langone campaign to increase heart health literacy in the Sunset Park Community
The community of Sunset park in Brooklyn, NY has a population of 130,635. The area’s demographic is predominantly Hispanic (44%), with Asian (28%) and White (24%) making up the bulk of the remainder. Most inhabitants are not highly educated, and 47% have limited proficiency in English. “Sunset Park has a high percentage of adults who have not completed high school (42%) and a low percentage of adults with college degrees (29%)” (Community Health Profiles, 2015). In comparison, US national percentage of adults over 25 who have not completed high school is only 13%, and the national percentage of adults over 25 who have associate, bachelor, and/or graduate degrees is 39% (US Census, 2016). Specific information on women’s health would especially benefit the under-educated members of this community.
The hospital would accomplish several things by instituting a community engagement program aimed at educating the public and increasing health literacy about women’s risk of cardiovascular disease. By building awareness of the lifestyle choices associated with increased risk, the hospital would increase the potential for women in the community to live longer lives. A proactive campaign would also increase community goodwill towards the hospital and improve its overall reputation, both externally in the community and internally with its own employees.
Stakeholders in the campaign include hospital staff, local residents, local community groups, and municipal leaders. Before the campaign can begin, we would set up a series of surveys and focus groups using samples representative of the community to get a baseline on the current level of information, education, and beliefs in the community around cardiovascular disease in women, the risks involved, and types of preventative actions that may be taken. A local media campaign to increase awareness would use local news and community social media channels. The campaign would have a dedicated page on the NYU Langone website, with a periodic newsletter available in English, Spanish, and Chinese, designed to facilitate up-to-date information, offer ideas for prevention and disease management, and showcase local stories of women’s experiences with the disease. We might reach out to the American Heart Association for help with campaign materials and messaging, working in partnership if possible. Finally, we would set up dedicated personnel as spokespeople who would be made available to speak on the subject at community events.
Cobble, M. (2014) Coronary heart disease in women. The Journal of Family Practice.
Culturally Sensitive Care at NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://bit.ly/2tZFyri
Community Health Profiles: Brooklyn Community District 7: SUNSET PARK. (2015). Retrieved from https://on.nyc.gov/2Hj6xoa
Facts about heart disease in women. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://bit.ly/1z1JHBh.
Lee, L. & Foody, J. (2008). Cardiovascular Disease in Women. Current Atherosclerosis Reports.
*Created as part of the requirements for a writing assignment and not meant to be published nor to represent the organization(s) listed herein