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WomenHeart’s 15th Anniversary Celebration of Empowerment
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WomenHeart’s 15th Anniversary Celebration of Empowerment: 
Pioneering the Fight Against Heart Disease in Women

WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease is a story of firsts – firsts that have been inspired by brave women, dedicated scientists, passionate volunteers, innovative leaders and committed partners. In September of 1998, MORE magazine interviewed heart disease survivors Nancy Loving, Jackie Markham and Judy Mingram. It was the first time the three women connected. They went on to create WomenHeart in 1999. It is the first national organization serving the 43 million women living with, or at risk, for heart disease.

The inaugural WomenHeart Science & Leadership Symposium at Mayo Clinic launched in 2002 under the direction of Sharonne Hayes, MD. The Symposium is the only national volunteer training program for women with heart disease that prepares them to be community educators, advocates, spokespersons, and Support Network Coordinators. Since then, more than 788 women heart disease survivors have been trained to be
WomenHeart Champions.

Introducing the Class of 2016


   On October 7, 2016, WomenHeart celebrated the 15th Anniversary working with Mayo Clinic annually to host our flagship training program, WomenHeart's Science & Leadership Symposium. During the celebration of this milestone, WomenHeart honored Mayo Clinic and our WomenHeart Champions for their extraordinary leadership and commitment as pioneers in the fight against heart disease in women.  Learn about this journey and the significant impact this training has had in bringing heart disease in women to the national stage.

Check out this special message from United States Senator Amy Klobuchar (MN): 


View the 15th Anniversary Program Book:

View the Mayo15 Program Book


In 2002, 60 women heart patients boarded planes across the country to attend the very first WomenHeart Science & Leadership Symposium at Mayo Clinic. These audacious women signed up to become WomenHeart Champions not knowing how it would change their lives forever.  As the inaugural class, they took a courageous step, not only in their personal journeys of empowerment, but as pioneers in the national fight against heart disease in women. Fifteen years later, women heart disease survivors continue to take this leap each year and join the corps of “heels on the ground” advocates in the fight!

Hear from WomenHeart Champions across the country as they share their stories of empowerment and how this life changing program has impacted their lives and those around them!


Take a look at this historical footage to FLASHBACK to past WomenHeart Science & Leadership Symposiums and conferences:



The Great Reveal!

WomenHeart Champions from across the country sent in personal messages of gratitude for Sharonne Hayes, MD in appreciation of her efforts and commitment to advancing women’s heart health. They expressed their appreciation for her commitment to empowering the women she encounters. Dr. Hayes has had an immeasurable impact on the lives of thousands of women across the country and for that we all say THANK YOU!

These personal messages were secretly gathered and quilted together by WomenHeart Champion, Denise Sullivan, class of 2008, and presented to Dr. Hayes as a surprise during the anniversary celebration.

Mayo 15 quilt


“Together We Advance”
is a visual expression of the unique bond formed from the shared passion to empower women through the advancement of women’s heart health. The beauty of this bronze sculpture lies in the depth of its symbol of three – the three heart attack survivors, who founded WomenHeart; the three pillars of the patient-centered approach to health care; the patient, the caregiver and the health care provider; the three-prong mission of WomenHeart to advocate, educate and support; and lastly, the threefold collaboration between WomenHeart Champions, WomenHeart and Mayo Clinic in pioneering the fight against heart disease in women together since 2002. It is through the tireless work of all these dedicated people that we have been able to achieve the many milestones for which we gather to celebrate.

The design for this bronze sculpture was proposed by WomenHeart Champion Keiko Watanabe, Class of 2008, and created by artist Allison Newsome.

Presented to Mayo Clinic by WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease.
Pioneering the Fight Against Heart Disease in Women Together Since 2002.


President's Medal
The President’s Volunteer Services Award (PVSA)
is the premier volunteer awards program, encouraging citizens to live a life of service through presidential gratitude and national recognition. Nine WomenHeart Champions of the founding Science & Leadership Symposium received the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award for their years of service – the highest volunteer service award offered through this program. These WomenHeart Champions continue to lead the pack as heart health advocates for women across the country! These women have dedicated 15 years actively serving as volunteers in the WomenHeart community in various capacities – as Governing Board members, District Leaders, peer support group leaders and community educators. Today, WomenHeart honors these dynamic women for their bravery, selflessness and continued commitment to WomenHeart and the advancement of women’s heart health.  

L to R:  Marguerite Bradley, Laura Davis, Dearra Foster, Maxine Levy, Gladys Lundy, Sylvia Rackow, Debbie Tillis, Carolyn Warner, Marie Warshauer



Check out the photo gallery from this special event!    (Coming soon)



WomenHeart Champions’ light up whenever Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” comes on. Due to the lyrics of overcoming life’s heartbreaks and thriving on, this song has become somewhat of a theme song for our WomenHeart Champions. The hair comes down, the hands go up and LIFE fills the room! Heart Disease tried and these ladies THRIVED!

Oh no, not I, I will survive
Oh, as long as I know how to love, I know I'll stay alive
I've got all my life to live
And I've got all my love to give and I'll survive
I will survive
I will survive

Check out this video of overcomers dancing to life’s beat, thriving! Music performed by The Riverside Hitmen:




The 2016 Science and Leadership Conference T-shirt!

 Get your tee shirt today tee shirt back

Say it LOUD, I’m a Champion Pioneer and I’m PROUD!

Tell the world you’re a pioneer in the fight against heart disease in women by purchasing a Science & Leadership Symposium T-shirt today. For just $X you can purchase this one of a kind t-shirt featuring the iconic painting of Class of 2005 WomenHeart Champion Tina Bradford. Don’t miss out  …get yours today! 



Thanks to our sponsors for their generous contributions:

  Thank you to our generous sponsors


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WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) patient advocacy organization with thousands of members nationwide, including women heart patients and their families, health care providers, advocates and consumers committed to helping women live longer, healthier lives. WomenHeart supports, educates and advocates on behalf of the nearly 48 million American women living with or at risk of heart disease. Our programs are made possible by donations, grants and corporate partnerships.

2016 Copyright - WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease
WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease is a founding partner of The Heart Truth Red Dress campaign. The Heart Truth and Red Dress are trademarks of HHS.