Heart-2-Heart: Improving Heart Health in Harlem and Winning the Million Hearts Campaign, the 2012 New York Life Symposium, unites community members to prevent heart attacks and strokes locally.
Calling cardiovascular disease “an epidemic of broken hearts,” keynote speaker F. Bruce Coles, medical director of the New York State Division of Chronic Disease Prevention, set the stage for the 2012 New York Life Conference, Heart-2-Heart: Improving Heart Health in Harlem and Winning the Million Hearts Campaign.
Zeroing in on "Silent Killer"
Hosted by the Colin Powell Center and the Harlem Health Promotion Center, and sponsored by the New York Life Endowment for Emerging African-American Issues. Heart-2-Heart brought together distinguished Harlem community leaders, health professionals, and other committed citizens to improve cardiovascular care and outcomes in Harlem. It also marked the kickoff of the community’s commitment to the Million Hearts Campaign, a nationwide effort by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and its partners to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes in the United States over the next five years.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. for Americans under age 65, said Dr. Coles in his opening address. It is also responsible for 50 percent of hospital admissions in the age group and two of every three preventable deaths. What's more, this "silent killer" is also the single leading cause of health disparities by race. East and Central Harlem, for instance, have among the highest rates of cardiovascular disease in New York City.
An Atmosphere of Urgency
These sobering statistics lent an atmosphere of urgency to the conference, demonstrated throughout the day as speakers urged audience members to institute change in their own families, organizations, and community. Sidney Hankerson, M.D., a psychiatrist with the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, whose work explicitly links the impact of clinical depression in the African-American community to high rates of cardiovascular disease, called on community leaders to help eradicate the stigma of depression. "Expand the four wall of what it means to be a health-care provider," stressed Hankerson, who partners with Black churches in Northern Manhattan to provide church-based depression care that encompasses spirituality, pastoral care, and prayer. More