Women at Heart Pump Up their Outreach
At St. Vincent’s Medical Center, women’s heart health has been a major focus since 2004, when the Regina L. Cozza Women At Heart (WAH) program was initiated. The program is funded in memory of Regina Cozza, who passed away from heart disease. It is a free heart care program, which reflects St. Vincent’s commitment to heartrelated diagnosis, education and treatment for women.
The endowment, established through the St. Vincent’s Foundation, has
now grown to provide cardiac screenings, lectures, literature, education and
counseling to the local communities. Sue Casso, a registered nurse in the
Cardiac Rehab Department, is the coordinator for the WAH program, with
the support of Co-Medical Directors of the program Kathy Harper, DO, and Alon Ronen, MD. This team has worked hard to help serve areas as close as Bridgeport, and as far as New London.
Sue meets with women in churches, community centers, senior centers, health fairs, and malls—anywhere that there are women in need of education about the importance of a healthy heart. She is a frequent visitor at the Merton House
in Bridgeport. “It takes time to build trusting relationships,” she says. “Now I have my ‘regulars’ and there is great satisfaction knowing that my trust has had a positive impact on their lives.” Sue teaches women in her program that the
best defense against heart disease is a strong offense. She counsels women on lifestyle changes to including a healthy diet, exercise and not smoking.
Drs. Harper and Ronen conduct lectures throughout the year to educate the community about how to establish and maintain good heart health. Women at Heart participated in the Heart Health Fair at the Trumbull Mall in February and
a Heart Gala will was hosted to raise money for the WAH program.
According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one cause of death and disability in women. Approximately, 42.7 million women are currently living with some form of cardiovascular disease.
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