Honoring Those Making Extraordinary Contributions to Women's Heart Health: 13th Annual Wenger Awards

Senator Debbie Stabenow (MI) among honorees

Washington, DC, April 8, 2013 – Three individuals and one organization were honored for their leadership in advancing women’s heart health at the 13th annual Wenger Awards, at the Ronald Reagan Building Atrium in Washington, DC. WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease hosts the Wenger Awards annually in recognition of those who have set a precedent in prevention, treatment and care of heart disease in women. Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in women, with 1 in 3 women dying from heart disease every year.

The Wenger Awards are named for Nanette Kass Wenger, MD, pioneer in women’s cardiovascular disease. The Wenger Awards is the only national recognition for those who are making extraordinary contributions to women’s heart health. This year’s honorees are:
The Honorable Debbie Stabenow (MI) for Excellence in Public Policy. Senator Stabenow is the first woman to be elected to the U.S Senate from the state of Michigan, and is currently serving her third term. Improving the lives of women and their families has been a priority throughout Senator Stabenow’s career on the local, state and national stage.

Senator Stabenow was the original sponsor of the HEART for Women Act, which she introduced in three sessions of Congress. She doggedly continued her efforts to address the lack of sex-specific data which has been identified by the Institute of Medicine, Government Accounting Office, advocates, clinicians and women throughout the country as a serious problem.

Thanks to the tireless efforts of Senator Stabenow and her staff, a critical provision from HEART for Women addressing the availability of sex specific data for drug and device clinical trials was included in the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act signed by President Obama last July.

Senator Stabenow’s achievement ensures that sex-specific data will become publicly available on a more consistent and reliable basis, thereby improving the lives of women living with heart disease and give patients and providers confidence in their treatment choices.

Carolyn Clancy, MD, Director, DHHS Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, was honored for Excellence in Public Service, for her steadfast commitment to improving health care quality and reducing disparities in care. Dr. Clancy’s efforts have resulted in significant contributions specifically to women’s heart health. Ensuring that women receive the recommended standard of care and reducing disparities is the foundation upon which WomenHeart was founded. Thanks to Dr. Clancy’s vision, the availability of these data allows us to focus on the specifics that will impact morbidity and mortality rates among women living with heart disease. She is being recognized for her contributions as a leader, researcher, patient advocate, patient educator and caring physician.

Rita Redberg, MD, MSc, FACC, FAHA, Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, University of California, San Francisco, was honored for setting a new standard for medical leadership in the field of women’s cardiovascular medicine. Her life-long commitment to pursuing gender-based outcomes research reflects her dedication to improving the health of all women, and women with cardiovascular disease in particular. Dr. Redberg’s persistence highlights the need for sex-specific data, care and treatment, and has resulted in greater understanding regarding sex differences and better health outcomes for women.

Abbott was honored for Excellence in Corporate Leadership, for its visionary industry leadership to advance women’s heart health by launching the Women’s Heart Health Initiative (WHHI) with the goal of improving awareness and prevention of cardiovascular disease among women. In collaboration with the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI) - Women in Innovations (WIN) initiative, Abbott developed a unique program to encourage and to assist ob/gyn clinicians in screening their patients for cardiovascular disease risk factors to increase the chances of early detection of heart disease, particularly in women with a history of pregnancy complications.

A majority of women seek some, if not most, of their medical care with an ob/gyn. The significance of this initiative was confirmed in 2011 when the American Heart Association added new recommendations to its guidelines regarding the importance of screening women for a history of pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia based on the connection between these disorders and subsequent development of ischemic disease. This program, developed by Abbott and SCAI-WIN, is an innovative example of how women can be identified early and effectively in the community and referred for follow-up care.

WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease is the nation’s only patient centered organization serving the 42 million American women living with or at risk for heart disease – the leading cause of death for women. WomenHeart is solely devoted to advancing women’s heart health through advocacy, community education, and the nation’s only patient support network for women living with heart disease. WomenHeart is both a coalition and a community of thousands of members nationwide, including women heart patients and their families, healthcare professionals, and health advocates, all committed to
longer, healthier lives. To join or donate, visit www.womenheart.org/kit.

The 13th Annual Wenger Awards is sponsored by Medtronic Foundation, Corporate Host; Pfizer, VIP Reception Sponsor; Gilead, Grand Reception Sponsor; American College of Cardiology; Association of Women’s Heart Programs; Genentech; Abbott Vascular; Burlington Coat Factory; Abiomed; AdvaMed; Bayer; Cerner; Edwards Lifesciences; Gelman, Rosenberg & Freedman; Novartis; ADI Construction; Chroma Graphics, Inc.; Dave and Vicky North; Marriott, Rochester, MN; Omar Persuad; and St. Jude Medical.