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New Ohio State University-Women’s Heart Alliance partnership to boost student awareness of women’s leading killers, heart disease and stroke

The Ohio State University is holding several events this weekend and in November to educate and empower young women about their No. 1 killers—heart disease and stroke—as part of a new partnership with the Women’s Heart Alliance (WHA).

The unique collaboration between Ohio State and WHA educates young women about heart disease, its toll on women and its risk factors and encourages healthy behaviors and regular heart screenings. Risk factors for heart disease and stroke are increasing the fastest among young women, and death rates from heart disease and stroke have also risen in recent years among this population.

The partnership kicks off with various heart-healthy activities on Friday, Oct. 28, including a campus heart-health screening to learn about prevention and disease risk factors. The Oct. 29 Ohio State football game against Northwestern will be dedicated to heart health and celebrate the partnership’s theme: “Heart Healthy, Buckeye Strong.”

“At Ohio State, we are committed to developing the whole person—from our students’ minds to their hearts—and our partnership with the WHA is essential to this goal,” said Ohio State President Michael V. Drake. “Together, we try to educate our Buckeyes on how to be responsible for all aspects of their health and well-being. As the prevalence of heart disease risk factors continues to rise across the country, it is important for us to arm our students with the tools and information they need to protect themselves from this disease.”

Fans are encouraged to scarlet-out Ohio Stadium for heart health, and the Ohio State Marching Band will offer a salute to heart health during its pre-game show. The scoreboard and game program will feature announcements and information about healthy lifestyle choices such as being active, eating healthfully, avoiding tobacco and managing stress. Fans can also enter to win a Fitbit by texting “Brutus” to 228466 and guessing the number of steps Brutus Buckeye will take on game day.

“For too long, we’ve been conditioned to see heart disease as an old man’s problem. But through this partnership, we are coming together to make heart health a young woman’s priority,” said WHA co-founder Barbra Streisand. “Because, even though heart disease can be deadly, it’s also largely preventable. Students at Ohio State and across the country need to feel empowered to fight back—it’s never too soon to act to prevent heart disease.” 

Heart-health screening events for students, conducted by the Ohio State College of Nursing, will take place on campus throughout the year, including Oct. 28 and Nov. 2, when students will be screened for heart disease through a simple test of biometric measurements like blood pressure and heart rate. The screenings will help students, especially young women, understand their individual risks for heart disease.

“We are thrilled to work with the WHA to bring awareness of the importance of lifestyle habits for heart health to our students, as part of our efforts to be the healthiest campus in the world,” said Bernadette Melnyk, associate vice president for health promotion, chief wellness officer and dean of the Ohio State College of Nursing. “Women often don’t realize they are at great risk, and we can help women live longer, healthier lives through education.

“Despite the enormous toll of heart disease and stroke on women, 45 percent of women are uninformed about their leading killer,” said Ronald O. Perelman, WHA co-founder and chairman and CEO of MacAndrews & Forbes Inc., citing federal data and published research.“We can and must do more to reduce the number of women dying and suffering from heart disease and reaching young women is among our top priorities.”

On Nov. 19-20 campus codeathon called HACKOHI/O 2016 will kick off with 750 participants competing in teams to develop heart health-related solutions, such as an app that utilizes wearable devices.

“Heart disease kills more women in the United States in one year than all cancers combined” according to national vital statistics reports, said WHA CEO British A. Robinson. “Yet so many women don’t know that it’s their No. 1 threat and aren’t armed with the tools and information they need to prevent the disease before it strikes. Through the Ohio State-WHA partnership and others, we are boosting the awareness and education necessary to fight this epidemic.”

Organizations supporting the partnership activities include Student Life, Greek Life, Ohio State Athletics and the Ross Heart Hospital in the Wexner Medical Center. Congressional Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) is also supportive of the partnership.

About the Women’s Heart Alliance
The Women’s Heart Alliance (WHA) was formed to raise awareness, encourage action and drive new research to fight women’s heart disease. It’s a unique collaboration between two of America’s leading medical institutions—the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute and the Ronald O. Perelman Heart Institute at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center—and two major philanthropists and leaders in business and entertainment, Barbra Streisand and Ronald O. Perelman. Learn more atwww.womensheartalliance.org, and on Facebookwww.facebook.com/womensheartalliance, Twitter@WHA and Instagram@womensheartalliance.


The Ohio State University: Melissa Weber, weber.254@osu.edu, 614-327-6024 (cell)

Women’s Heart Alliance, Kat Mavengere, kmavengere@gpg.com, 202-741-5575