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Learn More About WomenHeart Support Networks and Coordinators
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The focus of the 2014 WomenHeart Science & Leadership Symposium is to train women with heart disease to establish and lead patient support groups for women with heart disease in their local communities. The goal is to have two women from each National Hospital Alliance member’s community attend the training and return to their community to lead and manage this new WomenHeart Support Network at the hospital host site. Attendees will learn about the medical aspects of heart disease, how to educate women in your community, and how to lead a WomenHeart Support Network. Attendees also learn how to tell their personal heart story to inspire and empower other women to take charge of their heart health. Attendees meet and bond with other women living with heart disease, and learn from the nation’s leading health care professionals, cardiologists, experts in women’s health, and communications professionals.

What is a WomenHeart Support Network?    

WomenHeart Support Networks provide peer-to-peer, patient support for women living with heart disease. Support for a woman with heart disease is crucial to her recovery and wellbeing, and that of her family. WomenHeart has found that through its peer-led Support Networks women are able to make conscience and well informed decisions about their health and health care based upon educational programming and emotional support that these networks provide.

WomenHeart Support Networks meet on a monthly basis and provide women with heart health educational information with an emphasis on secondary prevention, as well as personal support, as they face their journey living with various types of heart disease. WomenHeart Support Networks are generally affiliated with a hospital, cardiac clinic, cardiac rehab facility, or a faith-based community. Currently, there are 135 WomenHeart Support Networks in 39 states. It is WomenHeart's ultimate goal to have multiple WomenHeart Support Networks in every state!

Who is a WomenHeart Support Network Coordinator?

A WomenHeart Support Network Coordinator is a WomenHeart Champion who leads a WomenHeart Support Network for women living with or at risk for heart disease. She uses her survivorship as a tool and motivation to educate, support, and advocate for women in her community. She has been trained at the WomenHeart Science & Leadership Symposium and receives continuing education through educational webinars and in-person training.

Why is support so important?

Support makes a difference. Too often heart disease diagnosis or events leave women feeling overwhelmed, depressed, or anxious about their future. A recent survey of patients who participate in WomenHeart Support Network meetings indicated that:

· 93% felt their quality of life has been enhanced.

· 85.3% have improved their ability to communicate with their health care provider.

· 93% have increased their understanding of heart disease.

· 85.6% believe that attending meetings has helped them deal with challenges in maintaining their treatment/medication regimen.

· 86.2% believe attending meetings has helped them better communicate and explain their heart disease with family members, friends, co-workers, etc.

How will WomenHeart support you as a Support Network Coordinator?

In addition to the training and education provided at the Science & Leadership Symposium, WomenHeart provides continuous support to new Support Network Coordinators starting Support Networks in their communities. This includes:

· A curriculum of fifteen (15) program modules on various heart-related topics that can be used as the discussion topic for your monthly meetings (topics include diet and exercise, anxiety and stress, healthy eating, depression, communication, etc.) Each module includes a facilitator's guide, a short video clip presented by an expert in the field and a handout for your participants.

· Templates to help with your meeting announcements, newsletters, power point presentations, etc., to help market your WomenHeart Support Network.

· Information on how to integrate the WomenHeart HeartScarves program into your Support Network; a program in which handmade red scarves are delivered to women undergoing cardiac procedures.

· District Leader Support – every Support Network receives the support, encouragement and advice from WomenHeart District Leaders (WomenHeart Champions who have previously led Support Networks or are currently leading them).

· Continuing education via webinars and in-person training.

· National events calendar to help market your support network and local heart health events.

· Monthly e-newsletter to keep you current on WomenHeart initiatives around the country and from the national office.

· A WomenHeart email account and business cards.

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WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) patient advocacy organization with thousands of members nationwide, including women heart patients and their families, health care providers, advocates and consumers committed to helping women live longer, healthier lives. WomenHeart supports, educates and advocates on behalf of the nearly 48 million American women living with or at risk of heart disease. Our programs are made possible by donations, grants and corporate partnerships.

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WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease is a founding partner of The Heart Truth Red Dress campaign. The Heart Truth and Red Dress are trademarks of HHS.