NEW YORK (April 23, 2015) – Speaking at the Women in the World Summit today, Barbra Streisand, co-founder of the Women’s Heart Alliance (WHA), detailed her commitment to eliminate heart disease in women and the grave gender disparities in how the disease is researched, funded and treated in women. The panel discussion, titled, “The Ladykiller” focused on the need to ignite a conversation and spur action on women’s heart health, as heart disease kills a woman each and every minute in the U.S.
“We need to focus people’s minds on the battle for women’s hearts and lives,” said Ms. Streisand. “And, when I say everyone, I mean it. This is not just about women taking action. It is about coming together as a nation to drive meaningful change to the U.S. health care system, to our medical institutions and to the communities we live in. And it’s about boosting and tailoring heart disease research and tools that address the unique needs of women.”
Ms. Streisand and her cofounder, Ronald O. Perelman, Chairman and CEO of MacAndrews & Forbes Incorporated, launched the Women’s Heart Alliance in Fall 2014 because of their outrage over the gender disparity in heart disease. A woman’s heart is different than a man’s but it is not treated differently. In fact, today, women comprise just 35 percent of participants in all heart-related studies, yet the disease kills one in three women. There is a lack of awareness that women’s heart disease symptoms are frequently different from or more subtle than men’s, that their first signs of a heart attack may be nausea, backache, extreme fatigue or shortness of breath, instead of crushing pain in the chest. Yet, even today, heart research is conducted primarily in males from clinical trials of new treatments all the way down to the mice in the labs.
Joining Ms. Streisand on “The Ladykiller” panel was Dr. Holly Andersen, the Director of Education and Outreach at the Ronald O. Perelman Heart Institute of New York–Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center and Vanessa Noel, heart attack survivor. Dr. Jennifer Ashton, senior medical contributor to the ABC News Medical Unit, moderated the conversation.
“Our goal at the Women’s Heart Alliance is to prevent women from dying and suffering from heart disease,” said British Robinson, Chief Executive Officer of WHA. “As Barbra said, we have to work at all levels to change the course of this disease and its burden on our mothers, daughters, sisters and wives. We strive to drive action across the health system, communities and institutions and garner support for women-focused research as well as new tools and approaches for fighting women’s heart disease.”
The Women’s Heart Alliance (WHA) was founded to help eliminate deaths and disability from women’s heart disease. It is a unique collaboration between Barbra Streisand and Ronald O. Perelman and two of America’s leading medical institutions—the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute and the Ronald O. Perelman Heart Institute at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.
The Women’s Heart Alliance is a project of the New Venture Fund, a 501(c)(3) public charity.