HSC to Host Women’s Cardiovascular and Brain Health Symposium

The UNT Health Science Center at Fort Worth is hosting the Women’s Cardiovascular and Brain Health Symposium February 1 and 2. The event will be "a transformative event for our research and health communities," says HSC's Dr. Mark Cunningham, bringing together scientists and community members to discuss the latest research on women’s cardiovascular and brain health topics.

Heart disease is one of the leading health concerns for women in the U.S. In February, the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth will be hosting a two-day event to raise awareness about it—along with the vital importance of brain health.

According to HSC, 60 million U.S. women live with some form of heart disease, citing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s responsible for 1 in 5 female deaths, but only about half of women recognize it as their No. 1 killer, HSC said.

To raise awareness of the importance of women’s heart and brain health, HSC will host the Women’s Cardiovascular and Brain Health Symposium on February 1 and February 2. The event will bring together scientists and community members to discuss the latest research on women’s health topics and share personal stories about the impacts of cardiovascular disease.

Bringing attention to ‘cutting-edge research’ in the DFW area

“The Women’s Cardiovascular and Brain Health Symposium will raise awareness of important issues effecting women’s health, engage in important conversations about the mental health of women throughout their life spans, and bring attention to cutting-edge research on women’s health in the DFW area,” Dr. Mark Cunningham, an assistant professor of physiology in HSC’s School of Biomedical Sciences and one of the event’s organizers, said in a statement.

Keynote speakers will include Dr. Florence Haseltine, a professor at the University of Texas at Arlington and medical director at the North Texas Genome Center. Haseltine is also the former director of the Center for Population Research of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the National Institutes of Health.

Also speaking will be Dr. Yolanda Lawson, OB-GYN and 124th president of the National Medical Association.

“This year, we’re also focused on amplifying the voices of those affected by cardiovascular disease,” Cunningham said. “It will be a transformative event for our research and health communities.”

Spotlight on the impact of cardiovascular disease

HSC said that at the event, community members will share stories about how cardiovascular disease has impacted their lives. During what’s called the Red Out, Shout Out Showcase, they can share personal stories and testimonials, and highlight American Heart Month by showcasing various methods of artistic expression, including wearing red clothing and accessories.

“Through the Red Out, Shout Out Showcase, we have an opportunity to hear from our community about how these diseases have directly or indirectly affected their lives—from the women themselves to their family members, friends and caretakers,” Desiree Ramirez, HSC EVP and chief integrity and privacy officer and one of the event’s organizers, said in a statement. “All family members, regardless of gender or age, are welcome to participate and give their impactful testimonies, giving our research community an opportunity to see how they continue to transform lives in order to improve the lives of others.”

HSC said that graduate students and postdoctoral fellows from the institution and other North Texas universities will share their research on cardiovascular and brain health at poster and presentations sessions.

Attendees will also be able to access health resources at a community health exhibit, HSC said.

The event is free and open to the public, but those interested should register to attend or participate, HSC said.

The symposium is sponsored by the HSC Office of the President and the university’s Division of Research. It will mark the beginning of HSC’s Black History Month and American Heart Month events.

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