Health Equity for the Women of North Philadelphia

National studies have shown that African American and Latina women are the least educated on heart disease prevention and the availability for heart disease treatments.  African American women have the highest death rates when they have heart disease. Like other locations in our nation, heart disease is the leading cause of death. This is also true in Philadelphia.  In North Philadelphia, the premature heart disease death rate is the highest in the city. When questioned, community members in North Philadelphia have requested access to training on diet and nutrition.

The Women of North Philadelphia need heart health education to educate them regarding how to prevent heart disease and on how to take care of themselves when they develop heart disease.  A coordinated program of education aimed at improving awareness of heart disease as a major health care risk for women is needed in our community.

WomenHeart, the National Coalition for Heart Disease in Women

Approximately 3 years ago, under the leadership of Deborah L. Crabbe, MD, FACC, FAHA, a small grant was awarded to Temple Heart and Vascular Institute to support the development of a peer support group for women with heart disease at Temple University Hospital. The group supports the education of women with heart disease at Temple Hospital, however it is also the only Womenheart chapter in Philadelphia.  Our overall mission is to help improve the cardiovascular health status of the women of Philadelphia by increasing awareness of Heart Disease and its risk factors for development. We also aim to teach women, who already have heart disease, the necessary self-care skills that will enable them to successfully manage their disease.

What is WomenHeart?

WomenHeart, is the National Coalition for Heart Disease in Women and represents nationally 48 million women living with heart disease in the United States today. The organization provides a community for women with heart disease across the nation. It provides peer support, heart health education, and national advocacy on heart disease related issues affecting women. In addition, it supports women suffering with heart disease, connecting them to other women who have survived the disease and are thriving. The organization educates neighborhood women, developing them into WomenHeart Champions. WomenHeart Champions are trained volunteers. The champions receive formal education on peer support, heart disease and other issues on women’s heart health and this year, Temple has our first Womenheart Champion trained by the Mayo Clinic! WomenHeart champions return to their home community and share heart health information with the community peers.

WomenHeart Champions are: “Boots on the ground” in the fight against heart disease.

Women with heart disease share their stories and important messages about heart health, to empower women to take charge of their heart health. WomenHeart Champions also participate in SisterMatch and HeartScarves programs which provides direct support to hospitalized women with heart disease.

How does WomenHeart achieve its goals?

Partners with hospitals, worksites, places of worship, and other local organizations to:

  • Share educational materials.
  • Provide peer-based social support for women at risk or with heart disease.
  • Provide educational presentations to community women.
  • Conduct special events and encourage the media to cover heart health stories.

WomenHeart Philadelphia holds peer support sessions for women with heart disease in our local region. We also support community programs searching for heart health education for their community members and we provide this service free of charge. If you are interested in obtaining one of heart health presentations for your community or want to join our peer support programs, please send us an email at the address below. Our peer support sessions meet the 3rd Thursday of every month and will be conducted virtually until the pandemic has resolved. Contact us via:

Meet our Peer Support Leaders:

Robin Olson, District Community Leader, Mid Atlantic District, Board Member, WomenHeart
Robin Olson, District Community Leader, Mid Atlantic District, Board Member, WomenHeart
Martlina XX, Peer Support Champion, Philadelphia Chapter, WomenHeart