February is American Heart Month and VA facilities across the nation are working to ensure Veterans get the message that it’s important to take care of your heart.
While heart disease is a major cause of death for men, it is the number one killer of women in the U.S. It’s also the number one killer of women in Kentucky and an event this week at the Lexington VA Medical Center aimed to reach out directly to those it effects — women Veterans.
Wednesday’s event was the first time the facility hosted a “VA Goes Red for Women” heart health fair, and the first time the facility teamed up with the Central Kentucky Chapter of the American Heart Association. Heart health experts, VA healthcare enrollment specialists, women Veterans advocacy groups and others were on hand to answer questions and provide information to the Veterans attending.
Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs commissioner Heather French Henry spoke at the event and broke it down by the numbers. There are 2.2 million women and, according to Henry about 24,000 women Veterans in Kentucky, a state where heart disease kills one woman almost every hour. “Each year, 96 women Veterans will die in Kentucky from heart disease,” a number Henry says is far too many.
“You are the best of us. You served us. We are here to serve you,” she said. “Today is our call to action to create healthier hearts for Kentucky’s women Veterans.”
That call to action is something the Women Veterans Program at VA is prepared to carry out. “The Lexington women’s health program is committed to reducing risk, improving health and saving lives,” said manager Jimalee Ross, one of the event’s coordinators. “We are encouraged by the interest the women Veterans showed in the event through attendance and their feedback.”
“As the health promotion and disease prevention program manager, I am committed to empowering Veterans to take an active role in their health,” said Christy Taulbee who helped coordinate the event. “I strongly believe that events such as [this] align with the VA’s commitment to provide women Veterans personalized, proactive and patient driven care.”
Check out some of the photos from the event in our gallery below.