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February 24, 2017
‘SMALL CHANGES’
‘Wear Red Day’ Raises Heart Disease Awareness

NHLBI director Dr. Gary Gibbons and NHLBI communications director Dr. Lenora Johnson show their support for Wear Red Day and American Heart Month.
NHLBI director Dr. Gary Gibbons and NHLBI communications director Dr. Lenora Johnson show their support for Wear Red Day and American Heart Month.

From the looks of it, nearly everyone at NIH got the memo.

Donning red hats, dresses, shirts and even fancy red shoes, NIH multitudes fanned out across several campuses to celebrate National Wear Red Day on Feb. 3 and launch American Heart Month. Hosted by NHLBI, the event helps raise awareness about heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women.

This year’s theme, “Small Changes for the Heart,” encouraged people to make gradual changes to reduce their risk of heart disease. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator, eating less sugar and sodium and getting regular blood pressure screenings—all are examples of little changes that, cumulatively, can have big payoffs.

To get out this message and underscore the importance of a heart-healthy lifestyle, NHLBI staff posted “National #WearRedDay” signs all over campus. They also handed out heart-shaped stickers at building entrances and at the Medical Center Metro station. NIH cafeteria staff wore red for the occasion and served menu choices that featured heart-healthy red foods such as apples, beets and tomatoes. NIH experts were on hand to provide nutrition tips.

“Small Changes for the Heart.” The annual campaign to kick off American Heart Month involves the entire NIH community. At left, Bldg. 31 cafeteria food services director Alayna Santiago shows off heart-healthy quinoa and black bean salad, specially prepared from an NHLBI recipe book. a visitor at the Medical Center Metro station proudly shows off her Wear Red Day sticker.
“Small Changes for the Heart.” The annual campaign to kick off American Heart Month involves the entire NIH community. At left, Bldg. 31 cafeteria food services director Alayna Santiago shows off heart-healthy quinoa and black bean salad, specially prepared from an NHLBI recipe book. At right, a visitor at the Medical Center Metro station proudly shows off her Wear Red Day sticker.

PHOTOS: MARK SAMPSON

In addition to Wear Red Day, NHLBI celebrated American Heart Month in other ways throughout February.

On Feb. 8, NHLBI and Woman’s Day magazine co-hosted a panel in New York City titled “The Power of Community: How local programs, businesses and faith-based organizations are innovating ways to fight heart disease in women.” The panel included representatives from a number of communities, including non-profits, medical and research groups.

Wearing red, members of the NHLBI Office of Science Policy, Engagement, Education and Communication gather for a photo.
Wearing red, members of the NHLBI Office of Science Policy, Engagement, Education and Communication gather for a photo.

A few NHLBI staff also attended the American Heart Association’s 2017 Red Dress Collection in New York City on Feb. 9. Founded by NHLBI, the annual fashion show helps bring needed awareness to heart disease in women. The show featured celebrity models in red designer dresses including Lucy Lawless, Diane Guerrero, Rachel Platten, Jeannie Mai, CCH Pounder, Maureen McCormick and Juliette Lewis. Actress Katie Holmes hosted the event.

On Feb. 24, NHLBI will join forces with the American Heart Association and Woman’s Day to host a Twitter chat to discuss heart disease, risk factors and research and how you can protect your heart. You’re invited to follow the discussion using #HeartChat.

You can also find more information about heart disease and prevention by visiting www.nhlbi.nih.gov.—Mark Sampson

NHLBI nutrition coordinator Kathryn McMurry (l) receives a visitor at the Bldg. 31 cafeteria display of heart-healthy foods and recipes. The cafeteria at Bldg. 10 featured a special display of heart-healthy red foods.
NHLBI nutrition coordinator Kathryn McMurry (l) receives a visitor at the Bldg. 31 cafeteria display of heart-healthy foods and recipes. At right, the cafeteria in Bldg. 10 featured a special display of heart-healthy red foods.

PHOTO: MICHAEL AHMADI

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