Sister to Sister

Heart disease is the #1 killer of women, but itdoesn’t have to be. Founded in 1999 by women’s health advocate Mrs. IrenePollin, MSW, PhD (Hon), the Sister to Sister Foundation is dedicated topreventing heart disease in women.


Sisterto Sister’s message is that a woman’s risk of heart disease can be lowered byapproximately 82% by leading a healthy lifestyle.  Our message of health and wellnessempowerment inspire women to eat more healthfully, increase physical activity,reduce stress levels, quit smoking, understand their family health history, andbe their own best health advocate when in conversations with their doctor.


But why does Sister to Sister focus on women?These are some heart disease facts that every woman should know, as well as themen who love them.


It is important to know that heartdisease affects women and men differently. Each year a significantly largernumber of women than men die from it.  Womenare far less likely than men to be tested or treated in a timely manner.  Women have more heart attacks that gounrecognized, more repeat heart attacks, and greater risk of stroke after heartattack. 


Women don’tknow that heart attack symptoms may be different than in men.  Women are more likely to feel shortness of breath,fatigue, abdominal pressure, nausea or heartburn, or jaw, neck, back, or uppershoulder pain.


Screenings to Save Lives:

Sister to Sister has developed a history of successfulcommunity-based programs dedicated to health prevention through education andbehavior change.  As a life-saving resource for women, Sister to Sisterhas provided more than 80,000 free heart health screenings and counselinginterventions while educating more than 200,000 women at heart health fairsacross the country.


We mobilize women to get a heart disease screening andinspire others to follow their lead. Sister to Sister has been helpingcommunity leaders and female executives pass on our heart health message towomen they influence.


What makes a Sister to Sister screening so unique is the FiveStep Screening Intervention.   

1.   Engagingwomen to make a commitment to attend a screening and take steps to beresponsible for their own health.

2.   Thebiometric screenings include Cholesterol, Blood Pressure, Blood Glucose(sugar), Body Mass Index (BMI) and Waist Circumference.

3.   Immediate,personalized results to understand their personal risk factors. 

4.   Individualcounseling sessions for women to review their screeningresults, discuss what the numbers mean and receive recommendationsfor lifestyle changes to reduce their heart disease risk. This is a truemedical intervention. 

5.   Allcollected data is added to the Pollin Cardiovascular Database for Women for trackingand research.


In partnership with Brigham and Women’sHospital in Boston, the PollinCardiovascular Database for Women is producing cutting-edge research that willhelp to better understand the causes and development of heart disease in women,while continuing to search for new and better treatments.  The results are being published by theAmerican Heart Association, Journal of Women’s Health, Journal of the AmericanCollege of Cardiology, and the Health Journal.


Online Resources:

The website,  helps women prevent heart disease by providingcomprehensive messaging on each major heart disease risk factor, and healthyliving recommendations for positive behavior change.  With daily tips, interactive tools, hearthealthy recipes, and online community, the Sister to Sister website impactsthousands of women.


Smart for the Heart:

In early February, Sister to Sister and Brigham andWomen’s Hospital will be launching an interactive online wellness program ( will offer a powerful health risk assessment to determineone’s potential risk for heart disease. It will provide online tools and workshops to help participants betterunderstand and improve their cardiovascular health. Participants will receivepersonalized follow-up communications to keep them engaged in the program, lowertheir cardiac risk and effect positive behavior change.


Capitol Hill Advocacy Days Program:

Since 2002, the Sister to Sister Foundation has been theonly heart-health nonprofit to take its mission of cardiovascular diseaseprevention through screenings directly to Capitol Hill.


Sister to Sister’s Advocacy Days on Capitol Hill aims to raise awareness of theprevalence of cardiovascular disease, its risk factors and prevention among keypolicy makers and influencers.


We offer free cardiac screenings with immediate resultsand counseling sessions, with a comprehensive heart-health action plan toemphasize healthy lifestyle changes. A major component is education through ourhealth program, which offers cutting edge medical information, recommendationsfor lasting behavior change, and the latest updates from Hill sponsors oncardiovascular legislation.


In honor of Heart Health Month, Sister to Sister will hosta briefing in the House of Representatives on the Importance of Chronic DiseasePrevention and Controlling Risk Factors. Top experts from the fields of hypertension, cholesterol, nutrition,research and government will participate. 


Sister to Sister’s program in the U.S. Senate will includeleadership from the Centers for Disease Control, the Pan American HealthOrganization and George Washington University Hospital.


You can find Sister to Sister online through our website,,by joining theconversation on our facebook page,following our tweets @sisterhearts and through our monthly e-newsletter.  You can sign up at


For more information please contact Lisa Townsend, Director, via email at [email protected].


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