Howard University Hospital Celebrates Heart Month

By Jordane Frazier
Office of University Communications

WASHINGTON (Feb. 1, 2012) – If anybody knows the importance of caring for your heart and why the focus on heart health during February is vital, it is Jacqueline Deckard.

Deckard, 65, was diagnosed during a visit to Howard University Hospital with congestive heart failure and needed immediate triple bypass surgery. Following a successful operation, she has been given a second chance.

"The Howard University Heart Center saved my life," said Deckard, a Washington resident.

During February, Howard University Hospital (HUH) is preparing several events for the local residents, patients and hospital employees for American Heart Month.  The events will celebrate patients like Deckard and provide awareness for others. 

Heart disease remains the number one cause of death for men and women in the U.S., taking the lives of more than one million people each year. The effects of heart complications can be life-altering.  Vascular disease can lead to heart attack and stroke, which is the leading cause of disability in the U.S.

HUH will host a variety of events promoting heart disease awareness and prevention, including a Red Dress display, Heart Love Luncheon for patients, free heart screenings, a prevention and wellness outreach day that will include special “heart healthy” meals in the hospital cafeteria and lots of giveaway items.

“Despite advances in cardiovascular care, African Americans continue to lag behind in the nation in quality of life related to heart disease,” said Dr. Michelle A. Albert, chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine and director of Cardiovascular Disease Research.  “This is reflected, unfortunately, in our life expectancy, which generally is lowest among black men and women compared to other ethnic or racial groups.” 

“That’s why we in the Cardiovascular Division are providing so many events.  We want people to become educated on how to better care for their hearts and consequently live healthier and longer lives.”

Starting Feb. 4, HUH will kick off its month-long agenda with a display of five red designer dresses loaned from this year’s Miss Black USA contestants.

On Feb. 12 and Feb. 14, free heart screenings at the hospital will identify risk factors for cardiovascular disease. 

A Heart Love Luncheon will be held Feb. 14 to recognized current and former patients who have triumphed over heart disease.

Red carnations and other decorations will dress the table and walls of the HUH's main cafeteria on February 20th for Healthy Meals Day.   Heart health lectures will also take place on that day.

HUH's Heart Month will also include a host of giveaways and heart disease awareness and prevention tips. The hospital will also feature a Heart Love Weight Loss competition over the course of the month.   Additionally, several physicians and staff with the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine will be participating in external activities, including speeches, lectures and demonstrations.

Through this wide array of events, the hospital plans to provide awareness and preventative methods for the community so that the battle against heart disease can be better and more effectively fought. 

A full list of activities for the month include:

Red Dress Awareness: Feb, 4 to Feb. 28

To celebrate the 10th Anniversary of National Wear Red Day Howard University Hospital will display five beautiful red dresses designed for this year’s Miss Black USA contestants in the hospital lobby. Help spread awareness by rockin' a red dress on Friday, Feb. 1, and throughout the month.

  • Heart Love Weight Loss Competition: Feb. 1

Since change begins from within, the Cardiovascular Division will be hosting a weight loss contest among hospital employers.  Winners receive a variety of prizes.

  • Cardiovascular Grand Rounds: Feb. 6. 

Dr. Joao Lima will discuss “Mesa MRI Study: Incident Heart Failure in the U.S.” from noon to 1 p.m. in the College of Medicine Red Room, third floor auditorium, room 3019.

  • Cardiac Rehab Screenings: Feb. 12 and Feb. 14

The Cardiac Rehabilitation Center on the fourth floor of the hospital will be conducting Risk Profile Screenings on Feb. 12 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome. On Feb. 14, the Cardiac Rehab Center will be performing more advanced screenings from 9 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. Stop by and make sure you are Heart Healthy.

  • Heart Love Luncheon: Feb. 14

To recognized current and previous patients who have triumphed over heart diseases, the Cardiovascular Division is hosting a special luncheon at noon in the Howard University Health Sciences Library.  The event will feature presentations from HUH staff, food and testimonials from HUH patients persevering with heart disease. 

  • Prevention and Wellness Outreach Day: Feb. 20

As a teaching institution, it is the Cardiovascular Division’s job to educate. On Feb. 20, lectures will be given by Dr. O.T. Randall, director of the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program; Dr. Michelle Albert, chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, and Dr. Jennifer Mieres, chief diversity officer and director of the Center of Education and Innovation from North Shore Medical Center- Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Jersey.  Heart Love awareness gifts and literature will be available throughout the hospital all day. As a special feature, the hospital cafeteria, arrayed in red carnations and balloons, will be serving a Heart Healthy Lunch, using recipes from Dr. Randall's book, "Menu for Life: African Americans Get Healthy, Eat Well, Lose Weight and Live Beautifully.”

11:a.m.: Dr. Randall presents “Reduction of Cardiovascular Risk Factors: The Impact of Tailored Menus & Exercise” in Freedmen’s Hall on the hospital’s first floor.

Noon: Cardiovascular Grand Rounds: Dr. Jennifer Mieres from North Shore Medical Center presents “Women & Heart Disease: New Insight” in the College of Medicine, 3rd Floor Auditorium 3019.

1:30 p.m.: Dr. Michelle Albert presents “How Stress Can Break Your Heart.” Howard University Hospital, Freedman’s Hall, in Freedmen’s Hall on the hospital’s first floor.

2 p.m.: Dr. Randall presents “Reduction of Cardiovascular Risk Factors: The Impact of Tailored Menus & Exercise” in Freedmen’s Hall on the hospital’s first floor.

  • Winners of Heart Love Weight Loss Competition Announced: Feb 28

Winners of the competition will be announced.  Winners will receive prizes that include spa packages and free health club membership and gift certificates. 

For more about heart care at Howard University Hospital, visit:

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