February is American Heart Month and in an effort to raise heart health awareness, Howard University Hospital will host a series of events including health screenings, information sessions and lectures.

The hospital’s string of heart health awareness events officially kicked off Feb. 4 when a collection of five red dresses designed for this year’s Miss Black USA contestants were put on display in the hospital lobby in honor of National Red Day.

On Feb. 12 and 14, the hospital will provide free heart screenings to identify risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The “Heart Love Luncheon” will also be held Feb. 14 to recognize current and former patients who have overcome heart disease.

According to the Center for Disease Control, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S. Moreover, statistics show that African-Americans are more likely than members of other ethnic groups to die from heart disease.

“Despite advances in cardiovascular care, African Americans continue to lag behind in the nation in quality of life related to heart disease,” Dr. Michelle A. Albert, chief of the hospital’s Division of Cardiovascular Medicine and director of Cardiovascular Disease Research said in a statement. “This is reflected, unfortunately, in our life expectancy, which is generally lowest among Black men and women compared to other ethnic or racial groups.”

“That’s why we in the Cardiovascular Division are providing so many events. We want people to become educated on how to better care for their hearts and consequently live healthier and longer lives.”

HUH’s Heart Month will also include a host of giveaways and heart disease awareness and prevention tips. A weight loss competition will also be held over the course of the month. Additionally, several physicians and staff with the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine will participate in speeches, lectures and demonstrations.

The list of activities for the month includes:
Cardiac Rehab Screenings: Feb. 12 and Feb. 14
The Cardiac Rehabilitation Center on the fourth floor of the hospital will be conducting Risk Profile Screenings on Feb. 12 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome. On Feb. 14, the Cardiac Rehab Center will be performing more advanced screenings from 9 a.m. to 4:30 a.m.

Heart Love Luncheon: Feb. 14
To recognized current and previous patients who have triumphed over heart diseases, the Cardiovascular Division is hosting a special luncheon at noon in the Howard University Health Sciences Library. The event will feature presentations from HUH staff, food and testimonials from HUH patients persevering with heart disease.

Prevention and Wellness Outreach Day: Feb. 20
Lectures will be given by Dr. O.T. Randall, director of the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program; Dr. Michelle Albert, chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, and Dr. Jennifer Mieres, chief diversity officer and director of the Center of Education and Innovation from North Shore Medical Center- Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Jersey. Heart Love awareness gifts and literature will be available throughout the hospital all day. As a special feature, the hospital cafeteria, arrayed in red carnations and balloons, will serve a Heart Healthy Lunch, using recipes from Dr. Randall’s book, “Menu for Life: African Americans Get Healthy, Eat Well, Lose Weight and Live Beautifully.”

For more about heart care at Howard University Hospital, visit: http://huhealthcare.com/healthcare/hospital/specialty-services/heart-center