Heart Centers for Women: Historical Perspective on Formation and Future Strategies to Reduce Cardiovascular Disease

Circulation. 2018 Sep 11;138(11):1155-1165. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.118.035351.


Heart Centers for Women (HCW) developed as a response to the need for improved outcomes for women with cardiovascular disease (CVD). From 1984 until 2012, more women died of CVD every single year in comparison with men. Initially, there was limited awareness and sex-specific research regarding mortality or outcomes in women. HCW played an active role in addressing these disparities, provided focused care for women, and contributed to improvements in these gaps. In 2014 and 2015, death from CVD in women had declined below the level of death from CVD in comparison with men. Even though awareness of CVD in women has increased among the public and healthcare providers and both sex- and gender-specific research is currently required in all research trials, not all women have benefitted equally in mortality reduction. New strategies for HCW need to be developed to address these disparities and expand the current HCW model. The HCW care team needs to direct academic curricula on sex- and gender-specific research and care; expand to include other healthcare professionals and other subspecialties; provide new care models; address diversity; and include more male providers.

Keywords: awareness; health status disparities; heart diseases; patient care team; treatment outcome; women.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities / organization & administration*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / therapy*
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • Health Status Disparities
  • Healthcare Disparities
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Women's Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Women's Health*