The Women’s Heart Alliance (WHA), Nashville Mayor Megan Barry and country music superstar Martina McBride announced the Cities and Communities with Heart Initiative (CCHI) Nashville, a collaborative, multi-year effort to stop women in Nashville from needlessly suffering and dying from cardiovascular disease (CVD). CCHI Nashville is a first-of-its-kind effort to harness the diversity and energy of the Nashville community to make a broad impact on heart disease and stroke among its women.
Led by WHA—a national non-profit organization co-founded by Barbra Streisand and Ronald O. Perelman and dedicated exclusively to women’s heart health—the purpose of CCHI is to improve the cardiovascular health of women in up to three mid-sized cities where the CVD burden is high and where stakeholders are ready to take action. WHA selected Nashville as the first city from among 28 other mid-sized cities because of its committed and collaborative leadership in local government, health care, academia, community and faith-based organizations and the private sector.
“The statistics about women’s heart health in Nashville and Davidson County are startling,” Mayor Megan Barry said. “But we’ve got a great team and a great plan to fight this problem. I’m proud that Nashville is taking a big step to improve women’s heart health, and I’m grateful to the Women’s Heart Alliance and our other partners for the passion and expertise each of them brings to this fight.”
“Women’s cardiovascular disease is a national epidemic, claiming more women’s lives than all cancers combined. The Nashville community we know is vibrant, inclusive and enabled; its leaders and citizens are committed to reversing this epidemic,” said WHA CEO British A. Robinson. “By demonstrating the power of partnership, Nashville will be a model for other cities. We are excited about the work ahead and believe that, through collective action, this community will save women’s lives.”
“For me, this issue is about equity, and about ensuring that women have the same chances in life that men do. We don’t know enough about women’s heart disease, but we do know that it is under-funded, under-researched and under-diagnosed. We must end this epidemic—for our moms, our daughters and all the women we love,” said Country Music Superstar Martina McBride at the event.
In Davidson County, cardiovascular disease is women’s number one killer. For every one woman who dies of breast cancer, more than eight die from heart disease and stroke. Many people are at risk of heart disease and stroke: 23.2 percent of adults smoke, nearly one-third (31 percent) are obese; about 1 in 4 (26 percent) adults are physically inactive; 33.6 percent report having high blood pressure; and 33.5 percent say they have been diagnosed with high cholesterol. Additionally, residents in many parts of the city lack easy access to affordable, healthy food.
CCHI Nashville’s five program components will roll out throughout 2017 and include:
- Caring for the Caregiver, a program to improve cardiovascular health and reduce CVD risk factors among nurses in Nashville’s hospitals and health systems;
- A clinical study on pregnancy complications and their link to CVD risk factors and CVD;
- A workforce health initiative through the Office of the Mayor to improve the heart health of female municipal workers;
- A screening and prevention effort in collaboration with Tennessee State University to reduce CVD and its risk factors in younger women; and
- A community initiative centered around one or more health centers and reaching African American, and/or immigrant refugee women.