MEDIA INQUIRES CONTACT:
Renee Young, National Public Relations
(212) 303- 8140
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 8, 2015
NEW YORK, NY — Today, Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, celebrates two years of the successful Every Beat Counts: Hadassah’s Heart Health Program™, which has reached over 10,000 women with educational events nationwide since starting in 2013. Over 150 Hadassah chapters across the country have held Every Beat Counts events, and key cardiologists have praised the program as easy-to-use, comprehensive and essential for helping women take control of their health.
Hadassah chapters across the country have embraced the program and made it their own, creating a wide range of events: walkathons, education conferences, supermarket scavenger hunts, Zumba classes, CPR training, galas, and luncheons. The program has spanned the entire country, in areas large and small: Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and Chicago, Kalamazoo, Albuquerque, Akron, and Baton Rouge.
“Heart disease is the number one killer of women in this country, but 82% of it is preventable, and education is a vital component of that prevention,” said Marcie Natan, National President of Hadassah. “We’re elated at the success this program has seen in reaching so many women in so many different areas of the country. We hope Every Beat Counts continues to lead communities to a better understanding of this serious disease, which kills one in four women in the United States.”
One of Every Beat Counts’s most successful related initiatives is its walking challenge, Every Step Counts: Hadassah’s Walking Program, launched in January of this year to help women prevent heart disease by increasing their daily exercise. Running from before Passover (April 1) to Sukkot (September 27), two of Judaism’s pilgrimage holidays, Every Step Counts enrolls over 1,000 women nationwide to wear pedometers and track their steps online while travelling a virtual route from the Hadassah headquarters in New York City to the Hadassah Medical Organization in Jerusalem. Together, these walkers have logged 350,000 miles total since April, with the top five walkers logging over 2,000 miles each. “Every exercise that we’re doing is important for the heart,” says Dr. Chaim Lotan, Director of the Heart Institute at Hadassah Medical Organization. “So at the end, every step counts.”
“Since the majority of heart disease is preventable, we wanted to create an initiative to target one of the best ways to improve heart health – exercise,” said Ellen Hershkin, the Coordinator of Programming, Advocacy, Zionism, & Education (PRAZE) at Hadassah. “In the first two months, the average walker added one-third of a mile to her/his daily walking, and over two-thirds of our participants are on track to finish the virtual walk to Jerusalem! Our walkers range from age 18 to over the age of 75, and we couldn’t be happier to see the increase in heart-healthy activity that this program promotes.”
“I’m very proud to have reached the finish line of this virtual walk to Jerusalem by actually being in Jerusalem at the Wall,” said Linda Barbanel Weiss, a grandmother of 3 from St. Petersburg, Florida, who has walked an average of 12.5 miles/day as the program’s top walker. “Once I knew I would be going to Israel for a wedding, I picked up my steps significantly in order to finish this way. This program has been great for my health and given me a fun goal to work towards.”
In addition to the success of the Every Step Counts challenge, Every Beat Counts programming has had tangible impacts in events across the country:
- In March of 2014, Hadassah’s UN Team presented a parallel session at the UN Commission on the Status of Women entitled “A Healthy Woman is an Empowered Woman.” The program, which garnered several dozen attendees from a crowded field of events, presented compelling information about women’s health – especially heart health – and gave people the tools to spread this message across the globe.
- In Atlanta, one informative event designed to teach whole families about heart health drew 1,100 people, despite pouring rain on the day of the outdoor event.
- In Boston, a pediatrician and nutritionist, taught mothers to find heart-healthy food in a fun supermarket scavenger hunt.
- In Los Angeles, a Women’s Wellness Day, featuring Dr. C. Noel Bairey Merz, Director of the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center at Cedars-Sinai, reached over 250 people and garnered considerable local press.
- In Diablo Valley, California, six physicians and chefs taught 135 attendees about heart health and healthy eating.
- In Kalamazoo, Michigan, two annual walkathons garnered over 120 participants.
With successes like this, more and more women across American are learning that Every Beat Counts.
Hadassah is the largest Jewish women’s organization in the United States. With 330,000 members, associates and supporters across the country, Hadassah brings Jewish women together to effect change and advocate on criticalissues such as medical care and research, women's empowerment, and the security of Israel. Through the Hadassah Medical Organization's (HMO) two hospitals, the world-renowned trauma center and the leading research facility in Jerusalem, Hadassah supports the delivery of exemplary patient care to over a million people every year. HMO serves without regard to race, religion or nationality and earned a Nobel Peace Prize Nomination in 2005 for building “bridges to peace” through equality in medical treatment. For more information, visit www.hadassah.org.