2024 Philadelphia Heart Ball honors Heart Safe Motherhood – Edward S. Cooper Award Recipients

The American Heart Association’s annual event recognizes survivors and supporters

The American Heart Association, the world’s largest nonprofit organization devoted to a world of healthier lives for all, announces co-founders of Heart Safe Motherhood Sindhu Srinivas, MD, MSCE, a professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and Adi Hirshberg, MD, an associate professor of clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology also at Penn, will be recognized as the 2024 Edward S. Cooper Award Honorees at the 2024 Philadelphia Heart Ball on March 23. Their evidence-based program improves health outcomes in postpartum women with hypertensive disorders of pregnancy.

Hypertension during pregnancy, which includes preeclampsia, is a leading cause of maternal morbidity and mortality, but the effects are not evenly dispersed across all patients. Black women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes such as high blood pressure and stroke than white women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Patients are at high risk for stroke and other complications in the first 10 days after delivery,” says Dr. Hirshberg. “Heart Safe Motherhood remotely connects patients with their providers and encourages them to input their daily blood pressure readings in and get automated feedback so that if it is high, we can connect with the patient and figure out the best next steps to keep them safe.”

Heart Safe Motherhood, developed in conjunction with the Penn Center for Healthcare Innovation, is a patient-centered approach to remote blood pressure monitoring patients at risk for cardiovascular events. On the day after discharge, patients start on a remote monitoring protocol with twice daily automated reminders and feedback over a 10-day surveillance period enabled by Way to Health, a Penn-developed platform for evidence-based, personalized engagement strategies. Heart Safe Motherhood is continuously evolving as Drs. Srinivas and Hirshberg, led by science and research, find new ways to engage patients, improve patient and provider experience, and maximize impact through real-world implementations and innovative research.

“Preeclampsia is one of the leading reasons people get readmitted to the hospital after delivery,” said Dr. Srinivas. “To help prevent this, when we asked patients to come to the office, we only were seeing about 25% of Black patients and 40% of white patients. We knew we needed to find a better way to engage with patients to help prevent post-delivery complications related to preeclampsia. And that was the origin of Heart Safe Motherhood”

By overcoming in-person barriers to care, the Heart Safe Motherhood program has reduced disparities in care as well as lowered readmission rates for new mothers. Drs. Srinivas and Hirshberg combined their shared passion for maternal-fetal medicine and co-founded a solution to the health inequities associated with access to quality postpartum blood pressure care for mothers in the Greater Philadelphia community. Rooted in science and patient partnership, Heart Safe Motherhood has won multiple national and innovation awards.

“We are so thrilled to recognize the work of Dr. Srinivas and Dr. Hirshberg through Heart Safe Motherhood with the Edward S. Cooper Award,” said Jennifer Litchman-Green, executive director of the American Heart Association in Philadelphia. “They join the ranks of other impactful physicians, researchers and medical professionals whose many outstanding contributions to the Greater Philadelphia community exemplify the best of humankind and the American Heart Association’s mission.”

The Edward S. Cooper Award, named in honor of Dr. Edward S. Cooper, recognizes individuals from the Greater Philadelphia Area who exemplify the work of Dr. Cooper and the mission of the American Heart Association.  Dr. Cooper is a world-renowned physician and a pioneer in hypertension and stroke, and the first African American to serve as national president of the American Heart Association.

The Philadelphia Heart Ball is a celebration of the Heart of Philadelphia campaign, a year-round movement to drive equitable health in Greater Philadelphia. The initiative raises funds to support the American Heart Association’s mission to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives while supporting priority issues in Greater Philadelphia. Improving hypertension control, increasing nutrition security, and removing barriers to CPR and AED education have been identified by the American Heart Association Greater Philadelphia board for 2024 to propel the work supporting the Association’s 2024 Health Equity Impact Goal by reducing barriers to health care access and quality, with a focus on areas such as North and West Philadelphia.

Sponsored by Infor, Jefferson Health, Independence Blue Cross and NFI Industries, the 2024 Philadelphia Heart Ball will be held Saturday, March 23, 2024, at the National Constitution Center. The 67th annual event is an evening of storytelling, dinner, dancing, and exciting live and silent auctions celebrating the work done locally as well as globally in the first 100 years of the American Heart Association. The American Heart Association commemorates its centennial in 2024 – marking 100 years of scientific discovery and innovation. With bold hearts, the Association’s volunteers, supporters, and staff forge ahead into the organization’s second century. For more information on how to support or attend the Philadelphia Heart Ball, contact Annette Weidenfeld, Associate Vice President, Heart Ball, at Annette.Weidenfeld@heart.org.