For nearly a decade, women have had a strong ally in West Virginia University Extension Service’s Love Your Heart campaign. Now, Love Your Heart will be more visible in communities across the state, as it has been selected as one of nine programs nationally to receive a prestigious Heart Truth Community Action Program Grant from the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health.
The movement will expand into communities throughout the state over the next near, focusing on awareness and education of the cardiac challenges facing women, in an effort to assist the nearly 75,000 women in the state who suffer from heart disease.
The Heart Truth Community Action Program Grant provides more than $67,000 in funding to the program over the next year.
For Love Your Heart creator, WVU Extension Health Promotion Specialist Elaine Bowen, Ed.D., prevention begins with awareness.
“There’s a common misconception that heart disease is a ‘man’s disease,’” Bowen explained. “It’s the No. 1 killer of women in our state, but there are great steps we can all make to reduce our risk factors.”
Bowen hopes Love Your Heart will encourage women, ages 40 to 60, to access their personal and family history for cardiac disease, create goals to reduce their risks and take action in achieving these goals.
This fall, WVU Extension agents in 10 counties will recruit volunteers and establish Love Your Heart programs in their communities. Bowen has adapted several Heart Truth programs and customized them for West Virginians. Each volunteer will be trained on a set of activities and then encouraged to choose one that is the best fit for their community.
“You don’t need to be a health care provider to spread awareness and install simple programs and activities and make a difference in your community,” Bowen said.
WVU Extension Service’s Heart Health Movement is adapted from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s campaign, and is targeted to help West Virginians become educated and enabled to take charge of their own health.
To learn more about ways WVU Extension uses trusted research and local experts to empower citizens to improve their health, visit http://www.ext.wvu.edu. To learn more about Love Your Heart Movement events in your area, contact your local county office of the WVU Extension Service.