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12th Annual Wenger Awards Honors Those Making Extraordinary Contributions To Women's Heart Health

United States Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin, MD among honorees

WASHINGTON, April 23, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Two individuals and two organizations were honored tonight for their extraordinary contributions to women's heart health at the 12th Annual Wenger Awards, at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, DC. The event is hosted annually by WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease in recognition of individuals and organizations who have set precedent in advancing women's heart health. As the leading cause of death in women in the United States, heart disease is responsible for one in three deaths among American women. Tonight's honorees are paving the way to better heart health for women and all Americans.


The Wenger Awards are named for Nanette Kass Wenger, MD, pioneer in women's cardiovascular disease. The Wenger Awards is the only national recognition for those who are making extraordinary contributions to women's heart health. This year's honorees are:

US Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin, MD, MBA, for Excellence in Public Service, for her efforts to reduce heart disease through fitness and lifestyle changes, and for her work highlighting the link between tobacco and heart disease. Joined by First Lady Michelle Obama and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Surgeon General Benjamin announced her Vision for a Healthy and Fit Nation in January 2010. Its aim is to reduce the rates of overweight and obesity in the U.S. – two major risk factors for heart disease – by improving nutrition, encouraging regular physical activity, and inciting communities throughout the U.S. to support healthy choices. Moreover, in March 2012, Surgeon General Benjamin released her report Preventing Tobacco Use among Youth and Young Adults which concludes that smoking carries substantial health risks, including heart and cardiovascular disease. Through these and other efforts throughout her distinguished career in health care, Surgeon General Benjamin has significantly increased public awareness of the symptoms and risk factors of heart disease.   

Boston Scientific for Excellence in Corporate Leadership for its successful work addressing disparities in cardiovascular care for underserved patient populations, including the extraordinary Close the Gap program. Boston Scientific founded Close the Gap in 2006 to provide advanced cardiovascular care to all Americans. The program achieves its goal by increasing public awareness of cardiovascular risk factors through community outreach; helping health care providers understand cultural beliefs that can act as barriers to care among underserved communities; and raising awareness among health care providers of heart failure quality measures. In addition, Boston Scientific supports a variety of national, local and international charitable efforts committed to expanding access to quality cardiovascular health care.

Alexandra J. Lansky, MD, for Excellence in Medical Leadership, for her longtime commitment to pursuing gender-based outcomes research and teaching interventional cardiology and prevention. Dr. Lansky is the director of the Yale Cardiovascular Research Group and Yale Valve Program at the Yale School of Medicine. As part of her work, she serves as medical director of, a Department of Health and Human Services-sponsored Web site for the treatment of women with cardiovascular diseases. She is the lead author of the American Heart Association statement on Interventional Cardiology in Women and has authored or co-authored over 200 academic peer-reviewed manuscripts and book chapters in the fields of cardiology, angiography, and women's cardiovascular health.

HeartScarves Craft Community for Excellence in Community Outreach for having grown from a scarf knitting group founded by WomenHeart Champions into a nation-wide network of volunteers who knit and deliver thousands of red scarves to women heart disease survivors across the country.  The red scarf symbolizes the lifelines of caring and support that exist among us. The red scarves are delivered to women heart patients to give them comfort, support and encouragement. HeartScarves also provides a platform for awareness and education about heart disease in women. 

WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease is the nation's only patient centered organization serving the 42 million American women living with or at risk for heart disease – the leading cause of death in women. WomenHeart is solely devoted to advancing women's heart health through advocacy, community education, and the nation's only patient support networks for women living with heart disease. Since 2002, WomenHeart has trained 591 WomenHeart Champions who are telling their stories, sharing vital heart health information, and saving the lives of women across the country. WomenHeart Champions are also leading 88 WomenHeart Support Networks for female heart patients nationwide. WomenHeart is both a coalition and a community of thousands of members nationwide, including women heart patients and their families, physicians, and health advocates, all committed to helping women live longer, healthier lives. To receive a free online heart health action kit or to donate, visit

Sponsors for the Wenger Awards are:  Medtronic Foundation, Corporate Host; Pfizer, VIP Reception Sponsor; Gilead, Grand Reception Sponsor; Burlington Coat Factory, Heart Contributor; Boston Scientific and Astra ZenecaHeart Healers; CardioDx, Heart Contributor;  Mayo Clinic, Micell Technologies and Takeda, Heart Sisters; AdvaMed, C.R. Bard, Inc., Bayer/MSL Group, Cerner, Novartis, Johnson & Johnson, Lisa Scholnick and Susan K. Bennett, MD, Heart Friends.

SOURCE WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women With Heart Disease

Copyright 2011 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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