Sandra Adamson Fryhofer, MD


February 13, 2013

In This Article
Sandra Adamson Fryhofer, MD
Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia; Past President, American College of Physicians

The Heart Truth Campaign

Let's face it: February is for females. It's the month of valentines, roses, chocolates, and fashion. This issue of Staying Well honors The Heart Truth® campaign, a joint effort of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the Office on Women's Health, and the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).[1] The Heart Truth's long list of corporate partners include The Coca-Cola Company, the presenting sponsor for the fashion show,[2] and the American College of Cardiology (ACC) is a community partner.[3] This year's The Heart Truth: Red Dress Collection 2013 fashion show took place in the Hammerstein Ballroom on February 6 and happened to coincide with the kick-off of New York City's Fashion Week.[4]

Key Points of the Heart Truth Campaign
   The symbol: the red dress
   The purpose: heart health awareness for women
   The mission: Know the symptoms, know the risk factors, and talk to your doctor to find out where you stand
   Yearly kick-off: National Wear Red Day (this year on February 1)
   Target audience: women 40-60 years of age
   Flagship event: Red Dress Collection celebrity fashion show

The Heart Truth campaign symbol is the red dress, a red alert that heart disease does not care what you wear. It's a call to take action and a reminder that heart disease is the leading killer of women. The campaign targets women 40-60 years of age.[5]

This year's event began with a Women's Cardiovascular Health Symposium led by the ACC and joined by a celebrity panel (Figure 2).[6]

Figure 2. Panel, from left to right: Janet Wright, MD, Executive Director, Million Hearts; C. Noel Bairey Merz, MD, Director, Barbara Streisand Women's Heart Center, Cedars Sinai Heart Institute; JoAnne Foody, MD, Medical Director, Cardiovascular Wellness Service, Brigham and Women's Hospital; Regina Benjamin, MD, US Surgeon General; Gary Gibbons, MD, Director, NHLBI; Mary Norine Walsh, MD, Medical Director, Heart Failure and Cardiac Transplantation, St. Vincent Heart Center of Indiana and Chair of ACC Patient Centered Care Committee; Elizabeth Nabel, MD, President, Brigham and Women's Health Care; William Zoghbi, MD, ACC President; L. Celeste Bottorff, Senior Director, Education and Partnerships, Scientific and Regulatory Affairs, The Coca-Cola Company; Sandra Fryhofer, MD, Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, representing Medscape.

Elizabeth Nabel, MD, President of Brigham and Women's Health Care, shared her story about how the program was started: A group of female heart disease survivors approached the chair of the NHLBI to report that women are dying and that something had to be done. The NHLBI chair listened and took action.

Meanwhile, in 2001, more than 70 experts in women's health convened and came up with a national action plan. By 2002, The Heart Truth, with its red dress logo, became an established icon and was trademarked by the HHS to keep it in the public domain as a means of raising public awareness.[6,7]

Figure 3. Left to right: Sandra Fryhofer, MD; C. Noel Bairey Merz, MD; Elizabeth Nabel, MD.