Lehigh Valley & Berks female changemakers lead effort to fight No. 1 killer

The American Heart Association’s® Woman of Impact™ nominees champion heart health for Go Red for Women’s® fundraising and philanthropy initiative. March is women’s history month and what better way to … Read more

Guest Blog -Why are women misrepresented in the medical field?

Guest Blog By: Anastasia Milliman

  1. Only 44% of women recognize that cardiovascular disease is their biggest health threat.
  2. 90% of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.
  3.  Most cardiac and stroke events can be prevented by education and lifestyle changes.
  4. Healthy changes have resulted in 330 fewer women dying from heart disease per day.

Why is it that women are so constantly misrepresented in the medical field? 

Anastasia and her gold award

This was the question I asked myself while working to create my Girl Scout Gold Award Project. As I researched, I found the fact that cardiovascular is disease the number 1 killer of women each year to be a prevailing issue. As I continued, I found that healthcare data is based majorly on the male anatomy and that is a large factor in why women are so often overlooked while receiving care. Even though women of all ages are at risk, and women are at higher risk than men, they are turned away from receiving care because their symptoms don’t match.

The biases in society contribute to this wholly as well, for example, women are less likely to receive bystander CPR because rescuers fear accusations of sexual misconduct or inappropriate touching. Minorities are also disproportionately affected, often leading to greater mortality rates and a lack of adequate care. 

Facts such as these drove my passion for my project. It was impactful to hear about the disparities women have been facing throughout history and this allowed my desire to go into the medical field to continue. I knew that I wanted to educate my community on how important women’s cardiovascular health is. I teamed up with a nonprofit organization that works to provide free primary care for Bergen County’s uninsured working citizens. This allowed me to coordinate with a cardiologist and my local ambulance corps to develop a comprehensive presentation given to the public about women’s healthcare and how they could personally make an impact by being knowledgeable. In addition to this, I created a book display to continue the education of my community that was presented for the entire month of May at my local library. 

Being educated and having an awareness of these issues opens doors for you to take control of your health and to help minimize the gap in health services and the quality of care that women receive. I worked to do this within my community, but now I am looking to reach a larger audience, taking control of your health is one way to minimize this gap.

For more information about how to continue education on how to take charge of your health, and how to make healthy lifestyle changes visit the American Heart Association and Go Red for Women websites. Go Red for Women | The American Heart Association’s signature women’s initiative.

The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and do not represent those of The American Heart Association | American Stroke Association. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.

The American Heart Association’s blog is not intended to provide medical advice or treatment. Only your healthcare provider can provide that. The American Heart Association recommends that you consult your healthcare provider regarding your personal health matters. If you think you are having a heart attack, stroke or another emergency, please call 911 immediately.

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