In his eighth year of working with the American Heart Association (AHA), Dan Simoni, managing partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers Tulsa, continues to be moved by the startling statistics surrounding women’s heart health. And he’s shared his passion with his daughter, high school senior Rhianna. Together, they are the community volunteer co-chairs of the 2023 Tulsa Go Red for Women Movement.
The Go Red movement is an AHA worldwide initiative, intended to increase women’s heart health awareness and help improve the lives of women everywhere. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the No. 1 killer of women in the United States. In addition, over 44% of women ages 20+ are living with some form of cardiovascular disease.
Dan says he was compelled to get involved after seeing the lack of equity when it came to the knowledge, understanding and underlying research between men and women’s heart health – as well as the overall awareness of the different ways men and women experience symptoms.
“It immediately caused me to think of my mother, who has suffered and still suffers from heart disease,” says Dan. “Women are also significantly less likely than men to receive bystander CPR.” This is another alarming fact that has influenced his family’s decision to devote time and attention to AHA’s cause.
This year’s Go Red for Women campaign theme is ‘Be the Beat!’ to emphasize the importance of knowing hands-only CPR. According to the AHA, hands-only CPR – chest compressions without rescue breaths – when performed by a bystander, has been shown to be as effective as CPR breaths in the first few minutes of an out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest for an adult victim.
“Resuscitation that is purely hands-only CPR makes this life-saving effort a little less complex and less intimidating,” which will hopefully encourage more individuals to learn CPR and take action in an emergency, says Dan.
As event co-chair, Rhianna has also helped raise funds and awareness about women’s heart health, especially in younger women, by sharing the AHA message throughout the community and partnering with organizations such as jewelry designer Kendra Scott.
“I hope to inspire others that are under the misconception that our young age is a limitation,” she says. “Instead, our age provides a different perspective of how we can make an impact for those who come after us.”
Other Oklahoma initiatives the Simoni family hopes to bring awareness to include addressing disparities and inequities in maternal health and ensuring all Oklahoma children have access to clean, safe drinking water via water bottle filling stations in schools.
The Go Red For Women Movement is sponsored nationally by CVS Health and the campaign culminates with the Tulsa Go Red for Women Luncheon on May 11.