This month, SUNY is working to raise awareness of heart health during American Heart Month. We start things off on February 3rd, which is National Wear Red Day, a day created by the American Heart Association to raise awareness and money in the fight against heart disease. SUNY Plaza will be shining red on this day to show support of the efforts across our state and nation.
Every day in the United States, someone’s wife, mother, daughter or sister dies from a form of heart disease. And although heart disease death rates among men have declined steadily over the last 25 years, rates among women have fallen significantly less. Women’s heart health has long gone unnoticed and in an effort to spread the word and ensure we are watching out for the women in our lives, we are turning our lights red.
Our SUNY campuses are often hubs of information for students to learn more about the issues around them. SUNY’s academic medical centers are major hubs for heart health and care too. In serving thousands of patients, these academic medical centers raise heart awareness through spreading knowledge in patients on how to have optimal heart health and devote time and resources to find new ways to help the heart through research and discovery.
Our medical campuses are always looking for ways to stay active and help a cause. Just recently, Upstate Medical University was named the top corporate team for the Syracuse Heart Walk, an annual fundraiser for the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. The team had 653 participants and raised $42,812. That means nearly one out of every five Heart Walk participants this year were associated with Upstate, and more than 8 percent of the total proceeds raised at the Heart Walk were from Upstate.
In addition to the activities taking place to continually raise awareness, the care provided on a daily basis is second to none as well. The Upstate Heart & Vascular Center is a comprehensive cardiovascular care facility that offers dozens of patient services, from diagnostic to surgical and rehabilitation.
In the metropolitan center of New York State, SUNY Downstate Medical Center provides comprehensive cardiovascular services, including 24/7 angioplasty services and heart surgery. It also provides free cardiac risk assessment screenings for members of the community every Wednesday from 11:00 am to 3:30 pm in SUNY Downstate’s University Hospital of Brooklyn.
It’s not just current practices that stand out, but research as well. Also at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, the late Clarence Dennis, MD, PhD, built and tested a series of prototypes of the heart-lung machine that ultimately led to the model that was used to support the first successful open heart surgery in New York State, in 1955. Dr. Dennis was chairman of the Department of Surgery at SUNY Downstate from 1951 through 1974. A rebuilt version of that machine is part of the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.
The heart is an important organ pumping blood through your body ensuring everything is running smoothly. Heart health is something everybody should be more aware of. With women age 45 and younger being more likely than men to die within a year of their first heart attack, it is amazing that wearing red isn’t a bigger deal. Lets make sure our loved ones are being checked out and ensure we are caring for the women in our lives. This month, let us spread awareness and celebrate heart health with everyone!