March 31, 2009 | Hundreds of UAMS students and employees attended the first UAMS Cardiovascular Health Day this month, aimed at raising awareness of the No. 1 killer in America.
The event was a collaborative effort between several colleges at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) and was held in the Bruce Commons area of the College of Public Health. The March 26 event featured several educational and screening booths.
“This represents a terrific opportunity for us to increase cardiovascular health knowledge in the UAMS community while supporting the American Heart Association,” said David Rutlen, professor and director of Cardiovascular Medicine at UAMS. “We wanted to open the eyes of people around campus to the dangers of physical inactivity, bad nutrition habits and other things that play a role in cardiovascular disease. I think we accomplished that.”
Several colleges and departments at UAMS – including the Colleges of Medicine, Pharmacy and Nursing, the Department of Dietetics & Nutrition and Get Healthy! UAMS – set up booths and did their part in raising cardiovascular awareness. Free blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose screenings were offered, along with cardiovascular risk scoring, diet and nutrition tips and a fitness evaluation. Healthy snacks were also available for those who participated.
“I think a lot of the people stopping by to take advantage of these booths are learning a lot about their current state of health, good or bad, and can take something away from here to help them down the road,” said Jim Raczynski, Ph.D., dean of the College of Public Health. “Cardiovascular health is paramount to living a longer, fuller life and we’re glad to be a part of this inaugural event.”
Raczynski is also the chair of the American Heart Association’s 2009 Start! Heart Walk to be held April 4 and a booth was busy signing up those interested in participating on the UAMS team.
Rutlen said he’d like to make the UAMS Cardiovascular Health Day an annual event to help keep students, employees and their families from becoming a statistic.
“Nearly 1 million people die annually from cardiovascular disease,” Rutlen said. “The more we’re able to raise awareness of some of the things people can do to cut their chances the more lives we can save.”