Women get help with their hearts

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Lisa M. Tate wants the 8 million U.S. women living with heart disease to know they aren’t alone.

Last month, Ms. Tate began her new job as chief executive officer of WomenHeart: the National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease, a national patient-advocacy organization.

Ms. Tate will oversee a variety of programs including 50 support networks across the country for women with heart disease, education efforts, fundraising and lobbying.

WomenHeart was founded in 2001 by three women who all had heart attacks and wanted to provide other women with the disease with a place to go for support. It is funded entirely by donations.

Each year, WomenHeart trains 60 female heart-disease patients in the science of heart disease and how to use public education and community outreach to inform the public about the disease.

“Heart disease is often viewed as a man’s disease, and women feel isolated,” Ms. Tate said. “One of the things we do with our outreach network and net of support groups is to provide women with a connection to other women with the disease.”

Ms. Tate will lead an organization whose membership has quadrupled to 16,000 as the organization has become more well-known over the past three years and continues to grow. WomenHeart aims to represent all women affected by the disease, the leading cause of death in the U.S.

“We’ve gone through inordinate growth, and we needed a leader that would take us to the next level because we are growing by leaps and bounds,” said Kathy Kastan, president of the WomenHeart board of directors.

Ms. Tate’s dynamic personality makes her the right person for the job, Ms. Kastan said.

Ms. Tate graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She has spent the past 14 years as vice president of public affairs for the National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions (NACHRI), a Distict-based association for children’s health care. Before that, she worked six years as public affairs manager for the American Academy of Pediatrics.

She is a co-founder of the Coalition for America’s Children, a group of 400 organizations dedicated to educating voters on children’s issues.

Ms. Tate, 48, lives on Capitol Hill with her husband and two children.

Melanie Hicken

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