HSC celebrates Heart Health Month with Healthy Habits, Healthy Heart theme

Healthy Habits, Healthy HeartFebruary is known as the month of love – a month full of chocolates, flowers and celebrating those people love most. To truly celebrate the month of love, people must first ensure they are properly caring for the vessel everyone is celebrating – the heart.

American Heart Month occurs each February. This month-long celebration is a way for The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth and organizations nationwide to focus on encouraging people, especially women, to listen to their hearts, focus on their health and speak up to get the care they need.

“American Heart Month is a reminder that awareness is our armor. It’s about early detection, healthy choices and shattering the silence that surrounds heart disease,” said Annabel Luna-Smith, community liaison and project manager for the HSC Provost’s Office. “It’s about not being silent, not surrendering and working on winning this battle, one pulsing heart at a time.”

SaferCare Texas, HSC’s patient safety department, is partnering with the Office of the Provost and other HSC programs to host the first Healthy Habits, Healthy Heart month. Events will take place throughout February to increase attendees’ knowledge of heart health and help them feel empowered to speak up to get needed care. All events are open to the public.

“For the month of February, SaferCare Texas is focusing its mission of eliminating preventable harm on heart health,” said Dr. Teresa Wagner, interim director of SaferCare Texas. “Knowing that heart disease is the leading cause of death for women of all ages in our country, HSC looks forward to hosting proactive learning opportunities for heart health throughout the month. These tools can empower people to take control of their whole health now and reduce preventable harm from heart disease in the future.”

The month kicks off Thursday and Friday with the Fifth Annual Women’s Cardiovascular and Brain Health Symposium. The free symposium will include speakers, student oral and poster presentations, and a panel discussion. The Red Out, Shout Out Showcase will take place during the second day of the symposium. Those participating in the showcase will share testimonials through personal expression, while showcasing their red apparel. Registration for the symposium will remain open through Friday.

“This year’s symposium is going to be inspirational, informative and transformative,” said Dr. Mark Cunningham, assistant professor of anatomy and physiology in HSC’s School of Biomedical Sciences. “It’s going to raise awareness about important issues effecting women’s health, engage in important conversations about women’s mental health, bring attention to cutting-edge women’s health research in North Texas and amplify the voices of those impacted by cardiovascular disease.”

Meet the Heart of HSC will take place Monday through Feb. 9. This event will provide a chance for students, faculty and staff to learn from HSC Health’s cardiology team. The team will cover topics ranging from lowering cholesterol and statins to hypertension and other heart diseases. Feb. 9 will round out the week with a lunch and learn Q&A panel discussion featuring HSC’s cardiologists.

The second annual Black Men in White Coats Youth Summit, which is so popular it has reached capacity, will take place Feb. 10 with the goal of inspiring youths and college students to consider careers in health care. The summit will include a breakout session with heart and lung “tours” in HSC’s osteology and anatomy labs for elementary and middle school students.

The health disparities of heart disease will be discussed at the Heart Histories: Understanding Cardiovascular Health Disparities event on Feb. 13. The panel will provide a deep dive into the genetics, racial and ethnic disparities that come with heart disease, as well as heart disease in men. Attendees also will get a chance to hear from a sudden cardiac arrest survivor.

Other events throughout the month will provide attendees with the chance to learn about the best foods for their heart health, ways to stay active and how to keep their heart healthy. CPR and Stop the Bleed training, and a resource fair with puppy yoga will round out the month.

To learn more about Healthy Habits, Healthy Heart events, visit unthsc.edu/heart.

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