Rush Physician Honored for Women’s Heart Health Leadership

Dr. Annabelle Volgman cares about heart health
Volgman Woman's Day

Dr. Annabelle Volgman cares about heart health. Most of all, Volgman cares about something that is not understood enough: heart disease in women.

Volgman was honored on Feb. 4 for her work at Woman’s Day magazine’s 17th annual Red Dress Awards ceremony in New York City. She was recognized for her work as medical director of the Rush Heart Center for Women at Rush University Medical Center and advancing the care of women with heart disease.

The Red Dress Awards are a celebration of both women’s empowerment and heart health education. Volgman walked the red carpet along with fashion designer Betsey Johnson, who had open heart surgery less than a year ago. Other notable stars at the event included Broadway actress Sutton Foster and the rock band the B-52s.

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women in the United States. Heart disease and stroke cause one in three deaths among women each year, more than all cancers combined. While 80 percent of heart and stroke events can be prevented, educating women about the signs of heart disease is vital, especially since the symptoms of heart disease between men and woman differ.

“Because of the research done by researchers at the heart centers for women across the country, we now have a much better understanding of what women uniquely face,” Volgman said during her speech at the ceremony.

As director of the Rush Heart Center for Women, Volgman is active in efforts to increase awareness of heart disease in women. She works with a multidisciplinary team that includes cardiologists, nurse practitioners, a neurologist who specializes in cognitive concerns (such as dementia and stroke), a vascular surgeon, dietitians and a genetic counselor.

The team’s ultimate goal is to give patients the best care possible.Because of the variety of diseases and symptoms a woman can have or experience, this effort includes creating an individualized program for each patient.

The center works to reduce the risk factors of heart disease in women as well as diagnosing and treating all forms of heart disease – both simple and complex. Its work includes preventing future health problems and educating women about heart and vascular disease.

Volgman — who also is the Madeleine and James M. McMullan-Carl E. Eybel, MD, Professor of Excellence in Clinical Cardiology in Rush Medical College’s Department of Internal Medicine — has written numerous abstracts and articles, given hundreds of local and national lectures, and served as an editor/reviewer for several scientific journals, including the American Journal of Cardiology and Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). She is a member of the American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology and Heart Rhythm Society, and she serves on the national scientific advisory board of WomenHeart.

The Red Dress Awards recognizes advocates and survivors of heart disease and celebrates those who have helped other women receive life-saving health care. For 17 years, it has honored those who have made significant strides in women’s heart-health awareness.

While the attention around heart disease in women is growing, Volgman understands the amount of research and education still is needed throughout the U.S.

“Unfortunately, there are still no great treatments for some of these diseases that afflict women more than men,” Volgman said during her acceptance speech. “We need to continue our work, and with your support, we hope that we can prevent heart attacks, heart failure, strokes and premature deaths in both women and men.”

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