Mount Sinai Goes Red for Women
On February 6, 2015, Mount Sinai Heart's Magnet recognized nurses partnered once again with the American Heart Association and other Departments at The Mount Sinai Hospital to organize and host the annual "Go Red for Women" Community Heart Health Fair with free screenings. February is "American Heart Month" and every year for the past 13 years, Mount Sinai Heart's nurses have been the driving force behind the Go Red for Women health screening, which is aimed at raising awareness of heart disease among women.
This year, under the leadership of Beth Oliver, DNP, RN, Vice President of Cardiac Services for the Mount Sinai Health System, Go Red health fair events were offered at five health system locations: The Mount Sinai Hospital, Mount Sinai Queens, Mount Sinai Saint Luke's, Mount Sinai Beth Israel, and Mount Sinai Beth Israel in Brooklyn.
"Heart disease is a global health problem, and although progress has been made, it is still the largest cause of death, disability, and reduction of quality of life for Americans," says Beth. "Although heart disease used to be thought of as a man's disease, now health care providers understand that women are at equal risk for this condition, especially as they get older. It's vitally important for the health care community to engage women in understanding that they are at risk for heart disease, and to empower them to take charge of their heart health by understanding their risk factors, and how to manage them."
Beth and Mount Sinai Heart's nurses are passionate about seizing every opportunity to promote the health of the community, and of health care provider themselves. "Obesity and overweightness are at epidemic levels in America, and are prevalent in health care worker as well as in the community," Beth says. "Health care workers are part of the community, and have their fair share of cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and cigarette smoking."
The Go Red for Women screening gives Mount Sinai Health System employees the opportunity to take care of their own heart health and that of their coworkers, as they provide an important service to the community.
"Our Go Red for Women screening is educational, but it's also fun," says Beth. "Participants receive a ‘Passport' as they enter the fair, and take their passport with them as they visit a series of stations, where they receive health screenings and education. As they visit each station, the passport is stamped."
This year, fourteen stations offered screening and educational demonstrations for nutrition and diet, diabetes, stress management, smoking cessation, yoga and other relaxation techniques.
Heart healthy food tastings were prepared and offered by hospital chefs. Participants make the rounds from station to station at this festive event, and on checkout receive a Go Red For Women "goodie-bag." At the final screening station, participants are counseled by Mount Sinai Heart nurse practitioners and physicians on their results, and referrals for follow up care are made if needed.
At The Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, 426 community members and employees received free screenings for high blood pressure, blood cholesterol, weight, blood sugar (which might alert participants to pre-diabetes), and peripheral vascular disease.
Ann Young traveled all the way from the Midwood Section of Brooklyn to get screened for heart disease." It's in my family. My sister, father, and brother all passed away from heart attacks. Since age 33 I have had high blood pressure and have been taking medication. I learned today that I need to do more aerobic exercise. I walk every day, and exercise twice a week. I do Tai Chi once a week."
Jane Lee of Manhattan, a former 30-year Mount Sinai pediatric emergency room nurse said, "I know of the fair, and come every single year.
Every year in February I always want to keep up with my cholesterol and health statistics. Sometimes you don't get a chance to see your doctors, so this is a quick way to assess where you're at, until you see your doctor."
Julie Mamby of Manhattan who also attended said: "It helps me to monitor my values between doctor visits. I learned my new numbers, and it will help me to monitor how I behave."
Mount Sinai Heart's nurses and nurse practitioners are equally enthusiastic about the event, and volunteer every year to staff the event. "This event is so much fun," said Arlene Travis, MSN, RN of The Mount Sinai Hospital. "We look forward to producing it and participating in it every year. It's such an upbeat, festive event, and every year there is something new. It keeps getting better and better."
At Mount Sinai Beth Israel, more than 350 community members and employees received free screenings. Catherine Green, of Brooklyn, attended Mount Sinai Beth Israel's event: "I was at the hospital with my father. So I checked it out and learned something I didn't know about my health. I wish they had this all the time." In addition, Mount Sinai Beth Israel Brooklyn screened 45 people.
Mount Sinai Saint Luke's event drew 166 participants. In Queens, 42 community members and employees attended Mount Sinai Queens' event that offered screenings for blood pressure and weight, and important heart health information, as well as lectures on health promotion by their experts at the Church of the Redeemer, which is across the street from Mount Sinai Queens.