Chicago Go Red dispels old myths with new initiatives
By Jennifer Mifflin For Sun-Times Media
On The Cover
Making a difference: These supporters of Chicago’s Go Red for Women movement are taking a stand against heart disease.
Front row (from left): Ashima Jaiswal, customer team leader, Merck & Co. Inc.; Kristen Lenn, vice president, Human Resources at Crown Imports; Andrea Schwartz, vice president of Media Relations and Cause Marketing for Macy’s North and Midwest Regions, Macy’s; Dr. Annabelle Volgman, medical director of the Rush Heart Center for Women, Rush University Medical Center; Kim Feil, 2012 Chicago Go Red for Women Campaign Chairwoman; Bonnie Gordon, director of Cause Marketing, Walgreens; Regenia Stein, vice president Industry Development and Communications, Kraft Foods; Anita Puri, senior vice president of Marketing, Digitas.
Middle row (from left): Andrea Rich, senior director Go Red for Women, American Heart Association; Patty Cohen, executive vice president, client service director at Energy BBDO; Courtney Price, vice president, Audience Development at Sun-Times Media; Meredith Ahern, account executive, Paulette Wolf Events and Entertainment; Diana Palomar, vice president of Community Affairs, ABC 7 Chicago; Jim Glaser, account manager, Nestlé; Maureen Scholl, AON Hewitt chief operating officer, AON Corp.
Back row (from left): Patricia Baran, vice president, Health Systems at CardinalHealth; Marianne O’Shea, Ph.D., senior director of R&D Nutrition, Quaker Oats; Sharon O’Keefe, president, University of Chicago Medical Center; Jennifer Conway, group director, Retail Brand Development at Catalina; Katie Baxter, partner, Downtown Partners Chicago; Kathy Casey, vice president, Kellogg Co.; Emily Olson-Torch, vice president, director of Client Services at Geomentum; Vincent Bufalino, M.D., senior vice president of Cardiovascular Services for Advocate Health Care and former chairman and CEO of Midwest Heart Specialists; Jennifer Curtis, Human Resources, Schneider Electric.
Heart disease has historically been viewed as a “man’s disease.” Current research, however, sites coronary disease as one of the leading causes of death for American adults — both men and women.
Kim Feil, 2012 chairwoman of the Chicago Go Red for Women campaign, says the mind set is slowly changing about heart disease — which affects one out of three women each year — being a condition that only affects men.
Women need to play a larger role in being proactive and acting as their own health advocates, she said.
“Women tend to take care of themselves last … They sometimes accept their fatigue and stress as just being a part of their hectic everyday lives when in fact those could be signs of heart disease. Our goal is to educate women on prevention and identifying the life-threatening heart attack symptoms. Often they differ from ones men experience,” Feil said.
The American Heart Association designated February as Go Red for Women month, which is a national campaign to educate and galvanize awareness for the condition that is now the No. 1 killer of women. Furthermore, on Feb. 3, which is National Wear Red Day, individuals, schools and businesses wear red to raise awareness and funds for eradicating heart disease in women.
Feil is excited that this year the Chicago Go Red will offer a fun and free Community Health Expo to raise awareness and provide health screenings for women in the Chicago area.
“We’re expecting between 1,300 and 1,400 to partake in the free event. And we will be offering two town hall meetings featuring doctors, nutritionists and health experts. One panel will be in English and the other will be in Spanish. We think the bilingual presentation will serve our community well and be a platform for all of the attendees to get the word out to at least five other women in their lives,” Feil said.
The Go Red for Women Community Health Expo will take place on Feb. 24 at the University of Illinois Chicago Forum from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The free event will feature heart health screenings, educational seminars, nutrition classes cooking demonstrations and a Zumba class.
One of the biggest messages women need to know? “Unless there is an underlying medical condition or heart defect, heart disease is treatable and preventable. Simple changes can make a huge difference in one’s health,” Feil said.
For more information about women and heart disease, visit www.goredforwomen.org.