Greater Philadelphia unites to help eliminate heart disease and stroke in women

American Heart Association’s signature Go Red for Women Experience raised awareness and critical funds, while calling for action against health disparities

(Philadelphia, PA), (May 8, 2024) — More than 500 people – most dressed in red – filled the Ballroom at the Bellevue Hotel, to attend the Greater Philadelphia Go Red for Women Experience. The annual event honors survivors, celebrates advancements in heart health and charts a new course toward a world free of cardiovascular disease, which claims the lives of 1 in 3 women.

Guests rallied at the heart-healthy event and celebrated the campaign, totaling over $1.9 million year-to-date, in the effort to save and improve women’s lives by advancing equitable research and care, advocating for inclusive health policies and raising awareness of women’s number one health threat, cardiovascular disease (CVD).

One hundred years after its founding, the American Heart Association, a global force for longer, healthier lives, looks to its premier women’s movement, Go Red for Women®, to help usher in a second century of pioneering progress towards health equity for women.

The sold-out event was emceed by QVC hosts Rosina Grosso and Vanessa Herring, who also served as moderator of the Red Chair Series, sponsored by Main Line Health and features leading area cardiologists in an ongoing conversation about women’s heart health. Dr. Gwen McNeill, this year’s Heart Champion, from the Lankenau Heart Institute, spoke about the importance of women’s heart health and the emerging field of cardio-obstetrics.

In Philadelphia, 46% of the pregnancy-related deaths were due to cardiomyopathies or other cardiovascular conditions. In Center City, life expectancy for females is 83.4 years. In North Philadelphia West – just a few short miles away – life expectancy for females is 71.6 years.

“For too long, heart disease and stroke have taken the lives of the women we love. But we’re not backing down because we have something better, stronger, more powerful – we have each other,” said Barbara Wadsworth, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Main Line Health, and co-chair for this year’s Go Red for Women campaign.

“Together with our supporters, we are standing up for women across our community to help ensure all women have an equitable opportunity to live a long and healthy life,” she continued.

Wadsworth co-chaired the year-long Go Red for Women campaign with Stephanie Austin, philanthropist, advocate and herself a cardiac arrest survivor, who sponsored Faces of Heart, 20 survivors and thrivers of heart disease and stroke in the Delaware Valley – in honor of Go Red for Women’s  20th anniversary.

“Because of my personal story, my husband Matt and I started the Faces of Heart initiative. The goal was – and still is – to expand The Association’s network of local survivors and honor women throughout the region who have struggled with cardiovascular disease and stroke,” Austin said. “Faces of Heart acknowledges survivors who have been affected by cardiovascular disease and stroke, and who not only survived, but thrived, by advocating for themselves, overcoming unconscious bias and by using their voice for others.”

Since 2004, the Go Red for Women movement has addressed the awareness and clinical care gaps of CVD for women. As the movement celebrates 20 years of making an impact, the Association calls on all women to take charge of their health and make a lasting impact on the health and well-being of their community.

“Go Red for Women is here for women’s health and well-being at every age, stage and season of their lives,” said Jennifer Litchman-Green, Sr. Executive Director/Sr. Vice President, Development and Community Health, American Heart Association Philadelphia. “And by coming together and supporting the women in our community, we can make a lasting impact.”

The event celebrated STEM Goes Red, a program which helped welcome over 135 School District of Philadelphia female high school students explore the vast world of STEM and STEM careers. The day also highlighted Woman of Impact awardee Dr. Helene Glassberg, cardiologist, Penn Medicine, and AHA Regional Board President, and Teens of Impact.


As women grow and change so does their risk for cardiovascular disease. CVD is the leading cause of death in women, claiming more lives than all cancers combined. Nearly 45% of women over age 20 are living with some form of CVD. In fact, it’s the leading cause of maternal death in the U.S., or more simply put, heart disease is the No. 1 killer of new moms and pregnancy-related deaths are on the rise.[1] Yet, younger generations of women, Gen Z and Millennials, are less likely to be aware of their greatest health threat, including knowing the warning signs of heart attacks and strokes.[2] That’s why it’s important for all women to take charge of their heart health and encourage others to do the same.

Go Red for Women is nationally sponsored by CVS and Aetna, and locally sponsored by Main Line Health, Independence Blue Cross and AmeriHealth Caritas, and other local businesses that support heart health in the Greater Philadelphia region. Media sponsor is Philadelphia Magazine.



About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for a century. During 2024 – our Centennial year – we celebrate our rich 100-year history and accomplishments. As we forge ahead into our second century of bold discovery and impact, our vision is to advance health and hope for everyone, everywhere. Connect with us on, Facebook, X or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.


About Go Red for Women®

The American Heart Association’s signature initiative, Go Red for Women®, is a comprehensive platform designed to increase women’s heart health awareness and serve as a catalyst for change to improve the lives of women globally. While the majority of cardiac events can be prevented, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women, claiming the lives of 1 in 3 women. For more than two decades, Go Red for Women has encouraged awareness. The movement harnesses the energy, passion and power of women to band together and collectively wipe out heart disease. It challenges them to know their risk for heart disease and take action to reduce their personal risk. It also gives them tools they need to lead a heart healthy life. The Go Red for Women movement is nationally sponsored by CVS Health, with additional support from national cause supporters. For more information, please visit or call 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721).

[1] Centers for Disease Control Pregnancy Mortality Surveillance System Table: Causes of Pregnancy-Related Deaths