The American Heart Association’s® Woman of Impact™ champions heart health through Go Red for Women’s® fundraising and philanthropy initiative
West Palm Beach, Fla., (March 1, 2023) – Six prominent local women will help advance heart health and raise lifesaving funds to fight their No. 1 health threat with the American Heart Association, devoted to a world of healthier lives for all, as members of its Palm Beach County 2023 Woman of Impact class. In a related program, local teen Eva Vukusich is Palm Beach County’s first Teen of Impact.
Each year a select group of individuals across Palm Beach County are nominated by their peers to become an American Heart Association Woman of Impact nominee because of their passion and drive to make a difference in the community and raise awareness of women’s cardiovascular health.
“Cardiovascular disease remains our No. 1 killer so it’s vital for all women to take charge of their heart health and encourage others to do the same,” said Ashley Vertuno, CEO of HCA Florida JFK North Hospital and Chair of the 2023 Go Red for Women movement in Palm Beach County. “While we’ve made some great strides over the years, we still have a long way to go. For example, American Heart Association surveys have found younger generations of women, Gen Z and Millennials, are less likely than prior generations to be aware that cardiovascular disease is their greatest health threat.1 We must raise our voices for all ages and stages of life and make sure all Palm Beach County women know how to take steps now to protect our heart later.”
Palm Beach County’s 2023 Woman of Impact Nominees are:
- Collette Cattafi, Director of Emergency Services, Behavior Health Intake, & Addiction Stabilization Unit at JFK North Medical Center
- Jyrece McClendon, Interim Dean of Academic Affairs at Palm Beach State College
- Shenetria Moore, Owner of SHE Holdings
- Iliana Rentz, Head of Vegetation Management for NextEra Energy
- Thais R. Sullivan, Senior Vice President at Valley Bank
- Maya Asha Underwood, Medical Educator at Palm Beach County School District
For the first time, the American Heart Association Palm Beach County also has a Teen of Impact: 18-year-old Palm Beach County resident Eva Vukusich. Vukusich will be using her personal experience of witnessing her dad having a heart attack to spread awareness for heart disease.
“By using their influence, their local networks and their unique lived experiences, these volunteers are able to make a measurable difference in our community and we are so grateful for each of them,” said Grasford W. Smith, Partner at Akerman LLP and Chairman of the American Heart Association Palm Beach County Board of Directors. “Woman of Impact truly embodies the power of coming together to create important and lasting change for good.”
Woman of Impact is an extension of the American Heart Association’s long-standing Go Red for Women movement, 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 most cardiac events can be prevented, cardiovascular disease continues to take the lives of 1 in 3 women in Palm Beach County and nationwide. According to 2019 data from the Florida Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 34.9% of adult women in Palm Beach County reported having hypertension and 5% reported having had a heart attack.
Beginning on National Wear Red Day, Feb. 3, 2023, hundreds of Woman of Impact nominees nationwide embarked on a 9-week journey to help transform the health of women. Each week, nominees and their Impact Teams, made up of friends or family members, participate in activities designed to create a culture of wellness and health equity. Activities include educational events, learning and spreading the word about CPR, getting active, recruiting women to participate in research, and more. Nominees and their Impact Teams also raise critical funds for the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women movement in Palm Beach County.
On April 19 at the Palm Beach County Go Red for Women Luncheon at the Pelican Club in Jupiter, the woman whose team has the highest number of impact points—awarded through a combination of fundraising and mission impact activities —is named Palm Beach County’s 2023 Woman of Impact Award Winner. The nominee with the most points nationwide will be named the National Woman of Impact Award Winner.
To learn more about the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women movement in Palm Beach County visit PBGoRed.Heart.org.
The American Heart Association Palm Beach County serves the residents of Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie counties. Sponsors and volunteers assist the organization in guiding efforts to reduce incidences of heart disease and stroke, the Nos. 1 and 5 leading killers, respectively, of American men and women.
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 19 years, 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 GoRedforWomen.org or call 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721).
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 nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.