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NIH Record - 75th Anniversary - National Institutes of Health

‘Hashtag Our Hearts’

‘Wear Red Day’ Focuses on Heart-Healthy Benefits of Social Networks

NHLBI and NIMHD directors and colleagues wave arms high in dance in Clinical Center's atrium.

On Feb. 1—Wear Red Day—NHLBI director Dr. Gary Gibbons (c) joins NIMHD director Dr. Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable (fourth from l) and others in #OurHearts dance event in the Clinical Research Center atrium.

Photo: Marleen Van Den Neste

NHLBI director Dr. Gibbons poses with colleague, holding sign pledging to dance and walk more.

Wear Red Day says, “Hashtag our hearts.”

Photo: Marleen Van Den Neste

An NIH'er, beside a table of red heart pins, rewards a red shirt-wearing colleague with a pin in the Bldg. 31 lobby.

Volunteers spread out over the campus handing out buttons and stickers to encourage others to embrace healthier lifestyles. In Bldg. 31’s A-wing lobby, a red-wearing employee is rewarded with a pin.

Photo: Marleen Van Den Neste

Two smiling NIH'ers in red jackets stand outside Metro station entrance eager to distribute heart stickers.

Braving the cold temps outside, folks at the Metro station sport stickers.

Photo: Marleen Van Den Neste

Fitness instructor leads a large group of NIH'ers in dance in Clinical Center atrium beneath red balloons.

R&W fitness instructor Linda Bessacque leads the crowd in heart-pumping dance moves during Wear Red Day event at the Clinical Research Center.

Photo: Marleen Van Den Neste

The Bldg. 31 cafeteria staff is all smiles, wearing red shirts with heart.

Cafeteria crew in Bldg. 31 come bearing fruits.

Photo: Marleen Van Den Neste

The smiling cafeteria staff from Bldg. 10 hold out trays of fruit

Cafeteria crew in Bldg. 10 come bearing fruits—red, naturally.

Photo: Marleen Van Den Neste

NIH’ers braved snow and bitter cold temperatures to attend a special dance event on National Wear Red Day, Feb. 1. Led by NHLBI director Dr. Gary Gibbons, an enthusiastic crowd gathered in the Clinical Research Center atrium and moved to the beat of heart-pumping music to help kick off American Heart Month. 

This year’s theme, #OurHearts, emphasizes the power of social support in helping people make heart-healthy choices. Studies have linked social isolation with obesity, smoking and high blood pressure, all of which can lead to long-term health problems, including heart disease, stroke and cancer. By contrast, social support helps people make healthy lifestyle changes by keeping them physically active, promoting weight loss, encouraging healthier eating and helping people quit smoking. Follow the conversation online by using #OurHearts and visiting

Based on the large number of people wearing red on Feb. 1, there is plenty of social support on hand at NIH. Volunteers spread out over the campus handing out buttons and stickers to encourage others to embrace healthier lifestyles. Other activities included tempting displays of heart-healthy foods at campus cafes and lots of signage across campus declaring “Wear Red Day.” 

NHLBI continued Heart Month events throughout February, including live cooking demonstrations on campus featuring heart-healthy foods and more. It’s never too late to join the growing effort to fight heart disease, the leading cause of death among women and men in the United States.

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