Women’s Healthy Heart Initiative

Misconceptions still persist that cardiovascular disease is not a ‘real problem’ for women. The Women’s Healthy Heart Initiative is working to change this through education and awareness. This is a preventable disease and we can save lives by making women more aware of the risks as well as the symptoms of heart disease.

Wendy Wray

Nurse Director of the Women’s Healthy Heart Initiative, MUHC

The Challenge

Every seven minutes, a life is cut short in Canada due to heart disease, and 90% of Canadians have at least one risk factor associated with the disease. Characterized as injuries to the heart, blood vessels of the heart, veins and arteries throughout the body and within the brain, cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are more commonly known as heart attacks, hypertension, heart failure, and rheumatic heart disease. Respecting no geographic, gender, or socio-economic boundaries, CVDs are some of the most prevalent illnesses facing Canadians today.

Traditionally thought of as “a middle-aged man’s disease”, heart disease is not usually recognized as one of the primary causes of death in women, but the harsh reality is that women are six times more likely to die from heart disease than breast cancer. In fact, heart disease kills more women aged 65 and older than all cancers combined. With Canadian life expectancy continuing to rise, the number of women living with heart disease is also expected to increase, highlighting the importance of educating women about the symptoms of heart disease. Better efforts need to be made before the disease claims the life of another grandmother, mother, aunt or sister.

The Solution

The MUHC’s Women’s Healthy Heart Initiative (WHHI) is the first nurse-led women’s heart disease prevention program in Canada. Its goal is to help women understand their risk of heart disease from factors within their control including: high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, smoking, poor nutrition and physical inactivity as well as those outside of their control such as: age, family history, and ethnicity. The WHHI provides individualized, specialized care and teaches strategies to reduce a woman’s overall level of risk.

The WHHI has been instrumental in increasing the awareness and importance of the early prevention of heart disease within the MUHC and in the Montreal community. The program’s continued outreach has inspired and empowered women to take control of their health and lifestyle, and in order to remain at the forefront of cardiovascular disease prevention, it must:

  • Establish an innovative prevention model for women’s heart disease for Quebec and the rest of Canada
  • Provide timely access to highly specialized and prevention-focused care
  • Reduce the number of potential visits to the emergency department
  • Expand the reach of the WHHI by promoting public education and transferring our expertise to the community at large

How you can help

We are raising $1 million to support the Women’s Healthy Heart Initiative.

For more information, please contact Miguel Burnier, Director of Development, miguel.burnierjr@muhc.mcgill.ca, 514-934-1934, ext. 71205.

You can donate online, download our donation form or call us at 514-843-1543.

Follow Us

Let’s do this, Montreal—we’re more than halfway through Giving Tuesday and we need every one of you to help us reach our $70,000 goal. 🙌 Support Dr. Gilbert, Joanne, Lawrie and the entire The DOVEE Project's Giving Tuesday dream of stopping ovarian and endometrial cancers. Combined, more than 3,000 Canadian women die each year from these cancers—but it doesn’t have to be this way. Let’s stop these deadly killers, once and for all.

✨ Donate now: bit.ly/3nREEEz

Plus de 3 000 Canadiennes succombent chaque année à ces deux cancers, mais nous pouvons les sauver. Arrêtons ces tueurs silencieux, une fois pour toutes.

✨Faites un don: bit.ly/2ISbhCC

#GivingTuesday #DreamBigMUHCF
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À l’occasion de « Mardi je donne », votre contribution sera égalée jusqu’à concurrence de 50 000 $ grâce à la générosité d’un grand donateur anonyme! La Dre Gilbert et ses collègues Centre universitaire de santé McGill - McGill University Health Centre ont mis au point un test sécuritaire et moins invasif qui permet de dépister les cancers de l’ovaire et de l’endomètre de façon plus précoce que jamais auparavant.

✨ Faites un don: bit.ly/38UHcgN
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It's Giving Tuesday, and your donation today will be doubled up to $50,000 thanks to a generous anonymous donor. Dr. Gilbert and her colleagues @ The DOVEE Project have developed a test that offers a safe, less invasive way to detect ovarian and endometrial cancers earlier than ever before. The answer for moving this test into clinical implementation? Generous Giving Tuesday supporters like you. ❤️

✨ Donate now: bit.ly/2UEAgvY

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Demain, c’est la journée « Mardi je donne ». Voici un message important de Lawrie Shahbazian, une coordonnatrice du projet DOvEEgene The DOVEE Project

« Les femmes qui reçoivent un diagnostic de cancer de l’ovaire ou de l’endomètre se posent souvent cette question : ‘ J’ai pris soin de ma santé. J’ai passé les examens, les tests Pap et les mammographies. Qu’est-ce que j’aurais pu faire de plus?’ La réponse, c’est DOvEEgene. Notre test minimalement invasif fonctionne, ici et maintenant. Nous en sommes à la dernière étape de notre marathon, le passage aux essais cliniques de stade trois. En tant que jeune femme, je compte bien voir les résultats et les bienfaits de notre travail acharné de mon vivant. Avec votre aide, nous sauverons des vies.”

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Ahead of #GivingTuesday tomorrow, we’re sharing an important message Lawrie Shahbazian, a project coordinator The DOVEE Project :

“The question women diagnosed with ovarian or endometrial cancer often ask is: 'I took care of my health. I did my screenings, my pap tests, and my mammograms. What else could I have done?' DOvEEgene is the answer. Our minimally invasive test will work here and now. This is the last leg of our marathon, getting it to a stage three clinical trial. As a young woman, I plan to see the results and benefits of all this hard work in my lifetime. We will save lives.” 🙌❤️

Help make the DOvEEgene test the standard of care.
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On this week’s Health Matters: It’s dubbed the silent killer, learn how Dr. Lucy Gilbert, the Centre universitaire de santé McGill - McGill University Health Centre’s Director of the Gynecologic Oncology Division, is working to eliminate ovarian and endometrial cancers through early detection with the The DOVEE Project. Plus, Joanne Photiades, an ovarian cancer survivor, shares her personal mission to ensure every woman has the chance to be diagnosed early enough to survive the disease. Learn more about how you can help this #GivingTuesday: bit.ly/3nTjtl9

You can listen to the full episode on our website, Spotify, and Apple! 🎧
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